Accused ‘sexual predator’

Police in the alleyway where Sasha Marsden's body was found.
Police in the alleyway where Sasha Marsden's body was found.
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The man accused of killing a 16-year-old was a “sexual predator” who trawled the internet looking for vulnerable women, a court has heard.

A jury was told David Minto persistently tried to get a woman to go to the Grafton House Hotel in South Shore, to “chill out and catch up” in the months before he offered Sasha Marsden a job as a cleaner.

She spent two afternoons at the hotel before her body was found wrapped in carpet and a duvet cover, and burned in the alleyway behind the premises on Kirby Road on January 31 this year.

Under cross examination by prosecutor Peter Wright, Minto, 22, said he had met Sasha through a former college friend, who he was trying to get back in touch with.

Facebook records were read to Preston Crown Court, which showed Minto, who lived at the hotel, had repeatedly asked the woman to go around while his partner, Rachel Butterworth, was at work on Thursday afternoons.

He said: “She was a friend who I chilled out and hung around with, and I had to fit that around Rachel.

“I don’t have many friends.”

The court heard the woman only visited his hotel once, in October, and Minto invited her over most weeks up to the start of this year, sometimes offering her free drinks.

On January 27, the woman said she would only go around if Rachel was there claiming he only wanted her there for sex.

Minto replied: “Not always.”

Just minutes after that exchange, Minto sent a message to Sasha, offering her a job at the hotel.

Mr Wright said: “I suggest you trawled available Facebook entries in order to find a suitable victim for your sexual attention.

“You thought you would be able to have your way with each of them when Rachel, your girlfriend and partner, was out and the premises were empty.

“You are an opportunist; you are a sexual predator.”

Minto is alleged to have stabbed Sasha, a student from Staining, in the head, face and neck.

The jury previously heard Minto claim he had consensual sex with the teenager at the hotel.

He accepted dumping her body after discovering her face down in the hallway of the hotel – but he denies being responsible for her murder.


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