Life term for violent sex offender who murdered Leeds student

Richard Danter.

Richard Danter.

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A VIOLENT sexual offender who carried out a “sustained and brutal” murder of a university student before leaving his body under the Dark Arches in Leeds has been jailed for life.

Richard Danter, 31, was told today told he must serve a minimum of 15 years and five months in prison over the Killing of 20-year-old Billy Mankelow.

Victim Billy Mankelow

Victim Billy Mankelow

Danter had plead guilty at an earlier hearing.

A court heard how Danter carried out an horrific assault on Mr Mankelow after the pair had gone to the Dark Arches area for a sexual encounter.

They had met earlier in the evening in the Viaduct bar, a pub popular with the gay community.

Danter kicked and stamped on Mr Mankelow’s head more than 20 times before returning to the Viaduct and telling staff he had attacked someone.

Danter then returned to Mr Mankelow as he lay severely injured and dragged his body further into the Dark Arches to prevent anyone from from discovering him.

Leeds Crown Court heard Danter then fled after being seen by two members of the public who then went to Mr Mankelow’s aid.

They found him half naked and bleeding heavily from his head but was still breathing.

Emergency services were called and Mr Mankelow was taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

He died later that day, April 26 this year, from major head injuries.

The surgeon who dealt with Mr Mankelow said that he had “never before seen such trauma that was completely focused on the head and facial area.”

Police were initially unable to identify Mr Manklow after it is thought Danter took Mr Mankelow’s mobile phone, passport and other items from his clothing which would reveal who he was.

Tahir Khan, QC, prosecuting, said Danter later admitted to his boyfriend that he had smashed Mr Mankelow’s head against a wall and had jumped up and down on his head as he lay on the ground.

By the time Danter was arrested he had disposed of the clothes he had been wearing.

Mr Mankelow, originally from Kent, had moved to West Yorkshire to study social sciences at the University of Leeds.

He had deferred his studies at the time of his death following the death of his mother.

Mr Mankelow was on a night out with work colleagues from a Capita call centre.

Mr Manklow, described in court as bisexual, had a three-year-old child from a previous relationship but was also attracted to men.

Danter was well known to staff and regulars at the Viaduct and was described as having a “quick temper” and a “promiscuous” lifestyle.

He previously picked up other young men there.

Danter has already served a lengthy prison sentence for robbing another student after meeting him in the Viaduct

He also has a string of previous convictions from 1998 including indecent assaults and an attempted rape on an 18-year-old with learning difficulties for which he got four years imprisonment.

In 2010 Danter attacked a Leeds Metropolitan University student after meeting him in a pub and taking him to a secluded spot.

Danter, of Queens Road, Burley, pleaded guilty to murder.

The Recorder of Leeds, judge Peter Collier, QC, said: “You subjected him to an unspeakable degree of violence.”

“I do not accept that you did not know he was still alive. You abandoned him there under those Dark Arches. You went back, you bent down to move him.

“Others who found him subsequently had no difficulty in immediately realising that he was still alive.”

After the case, Mr Mankelow’s family released a statement which read: “Billy loved life and had lots of friends. He was independent and motivated and went to study at Leeds University. Billy loved Leeds, a place where he made a life for himself and had lots of friends.

“Billy’s family and friends are all distraught at the way Billy died; which was so senseless and unnecessary. Billy was simply out with friends having a good time with his life ahead of him.”

Det Chief Insp David Shipperlee, of British Transport Police, said: “Danter dragged Billy into an alcove in the railway arch, presumably to conceal his body, and left him for dead.

“His death is such a tragic waste of a young life, a life taken by a violent, evil and dangerous man, who has a history of previous convictions for violence and sexual offences, who is now where he belongs - behind bars.”

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