A murderer who travelled from London to Merseyside to launch a calculated killing of a 69-year-old retiree earlier this year was seen smirking as he was sentenced to life in prison.
David Iwo, 23, who bludgeoned to death Martin Decker, 69, with a hammer in March told psychiatrists he would never have stopped killing gay men if he had not been caught.
After advertising his services for sex online, Iwo tricked former Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Mr Decker into arranging a meeting at his flat in Vyner Croft, Prenton, on the evening of March 6 this year.
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Iwo then travelled from London to Merseyside by train and launched a merciless, sustained and determined attack on Mr Decker almost immediately after being invited inside his home, reports the Liverpool Echo.
A forensic pathologist concluded Iwo struck Mr Decker around nine times to his head, causing catastrophic injuries including multiple skull fractures.
The killer then helped himself to £250 in cash Mr Decker had earlier withdrawn from a cash machine before stealing valuable items including his laptop, phone, watch and Bose sound system before fleeing the scene with the stolen goods in plastic bags.
Iwo’s fast arrest at a London hotel on March 10 was considered almost certain to have prevented him launching similar attacks.
Iwo was handed a life sentence at Preston Crown Court today (27 October) with a minimum term of 33 years, after previously pleading guilty to Mr Decker’s murder.
The murderer had also admitted torturing and killing around 30 cats.
Minutes before the hearing was due to start, Iwo fired his legal team and barrister, David Temkin QC, telling the court that he wanted to “speak for himself” and that you “can’t blame your parents for everything”.
However, when Judge Mr Justice Jacobs asked him later in the hearing whether he wanted to address the court, Iwo told him to “disregard” any documents prepared in his defence and replied: “I have got nothing to say”.
The killer appeared in court via video-link from HMP Manchester and was seen grinning and laughing at times during the hearing as chilling details of his crimes were described.
Alan Kent, QC, prosecuting, told the court how Iwo advertised his sexual services on an app called Viva Street and was contacted by Mr Decker on Friday March 5.
Mr Decker, who was single and lived alone, offered him £250 for a two hour meeting at his home.
Mr Kent told the court: “David Iwo attacked and killed Martin Decker inside his own home in Vyner Croft.
“He repeatedly struck Mr Decker to the head with a hammer he had brought with him for the purposes of carrying out a murder.
“Having fatally injured Mr Decker the defendant searched his home and stole his money, a number of personal effects and some electrical items before leaving the address.
“Over the course of the next two or three days he sold or tried to sell items he had stolen.”
Iwo was arrested in a hotel in London and on the second interview with detectives made chilling admissions to the offence, saying that he “did not see Martin Decker as human” when he killed him but only viewed him as an “objective”.
The killer said he saw it as his life’s work to rob and kill gay men until he was caught, and “expressed surprise” that it had happened so quickly.
He was assessed by psychiatrists who stated they did not believe he was suffering from a psychotic disorder but suspected him as having dissocial personality disorder.
The psychiatric report also described him as having narcissistic tendencies and said he was “incapable of experiencing guilt or remorse”.
Iwo made other admissions to doctors, stating that he tortured and murdered cats and laughed as their owners put out desperate appeals on Facebook to find their missing pets.
He said he realised he could advertise his sexual services but then attack and rob gay men, knowing they would probably not report it – and compared the incidents to “robbing drug dealers”.
Iwo described the attack as a “progression” from his “hobby” of killing cats.
Mr Kent described how Mr Decker’s elderly mum became concerned when she had not heard from him the following day and that evening his brother, Jeremy Decker, attended his flat and let himself in.
He described a horrifying scene when he found his brother’s body at the back of the flat and signs of an untidy search.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Decker said he immediately knew his brother was dead but still felt irrational guilt that he had not tried to perform CPR.
The statement, read by Mr Kent, described how he found it too painful to put into words how he felt about his brother.
Passing sentence, Judge Jacobs told Iwo: “Martin Decker was a distinguished lawyer and civil servant. Prior to his retirement he worked for the Crown Prosecution Service, carrying out the vital public service performed by that organisation.
“His hard work over the years had entitled him to an enjoyable retirement during which he would have continued to care for his mother, now in her 80s, as he had with the assistance of other family members over many years.
“At the time that you murdered him, in the most brutal fashion, he was 69-years-old and in no position to defend himself from an attack which had no forewarning.
“He leaves behind grieving family members and I have read moving statements from his mother, his brother Jeremy who will have to live forever with the trauma of finding his brother lying dead in his home and then having to tell his mother what had happened, and his sister-in-law Carole and his two nieces Anna and Charlotte.
“Their statements describe the sadness, numbness, anger and mental devastation of all the family whose lives have forever been changed by your senseless brutality.”
Judge Jacobs said Mr Decker visited his mother every day “and it is unlikely she will ever come to terms with his loss”.
Mr Decker also never got the chance to meet his great-nephew, who was born shortly after his death.
Judge Jacobs described how the fast work of Merseyside Police detectives, headed up by Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson, prevented Iwo from killing again.
Speaking after the case, DCI Wilson said: “This was a brutal and senseless killing of an elderly man in his own home which has obviously devastated his family and wide circle of friends and shocked the whole community.
“Following the killing Iwo casually left Mr Decker’s home with bags containing his mobile phone together with jewellery and personal possessions.
“The arrest and prosecution of David Iwo would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the detectives who have worked on this case, viewing hundreds of hours of CCTV footage in order to trace Iwo’s movements which led to his arrest, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their diligence together with our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service.
“I would also like to commend the family of Mr Decker for their dignity during these legal proceedings and hope that, while no sentence will bring Martin back, knowing Iwo is behind bars for a considerable period of time, will give them the opportunity to finally start grieving their loss.”
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Mr Decker worked with CPS Merseyside and Cheshire from its inception in 1986 until his retirement in July 2012.
The CPS said one of his key roles was his involvement with the Unity team in Merseyside – the first of its type – bringing together Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lawyers and the police in one location so that they could work alongside each other to prosecute dangerous offenders.
Jonathan Storer, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “Martin Decker was an excellent lawyer and colleague. Many people here worked with him.
“The news of his death shocked and saddened so many of his former colleagues and we have offered support to those who may have felt they were struggling.
“The Crown Prosecution Service works, day in and day out, to bring the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes to justice. But to find one of our own lawyers had been a victim of such a brutal crime was doubly shocking.
“The guilty plea of David Iwo a month before the trial has, thankfully, saved Mr Decker’s family from the ordeal of that. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Decker at this very difficult and tragic time.”
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