Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Spurned War Game Player Turns Killer; German Was Infatuated with Girlfriend

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Spurned War Game Player Turns Killer; German Was Infatuated with Girlfriend

Article excerpt

Byline: Theo Usherwood

A "CALLOUS, COLD-HEARTED" online war games fanatic who became obsessed with a student he met through a website was jailed yesterday for murdering her boyfriend.

David Heiss, 21, stabbed Matthew Pyke 86 times after he became infatuated with his girlfriend Joanna Witton on a website where visitors share tactics and tips for the game Advanced Wars.

Heiss spent hours trawling the internet for photographs of Miss Witton and declared his love over the internet.

The loner, who spent eight hours a day in front of his computer, also became engrossed in an online diary she had written three years earlier.

Heiss lived his life through the internet from his home near Frankfurt which he shared with his grandmother.

The website warscentral.com - where he met Miss Witton - had a regular online community of about 40 users.

He hardly ever saw his parents and was seemingly unable to distinguish between reality and his warped virtual world.

For him, Mr Pyke was an obstacle who needed to be "erased" so he could start a relationship with the 21-year-old.

Nottingham Crown Court was told that on September 19 of last year he flew from Germany and launched a "savage and sustained" attack on 20-year-old Mr Pyke as he lay cowering in his flat.

Even as the student tried to write the name of his killer in his own blood on the side of his computer monitor, Heiss stood over him, repeatedly stabbing at his body.

Mr Pyke only managed to write DAV, the first three letters of Heiss's Christian name, but it was enough to immediately put detectives on to the trail of his killer. Yesterday, police said Heiss murdered the student with the same precision that he used in online war games.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon said: "Heiss planned the murder like a strategist in one of his war games.

"The one thing he didn't expect was that Matthew would fight so bravely for his life. In my view, David Heiss is the most callous, cold-hearted individual I have ever dealt with.

"While this is an extremely unusual case, one thing is clear and that is that Heiss used the internet to harass and stalk Joanna and Matthew. …

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