Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Chilling Confession of a Killer Who Left Karen's Body in His Flat for Days. ...and Eerie Echoes of a Crime 19 Years Ago

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Chilling Confession of a Killer Who Left Karen's Body in His Flat for Days. ...and Eerie Echoes of a Crime 19 Years Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: SAM BEATTIE

WITHOUT a stutter of anxiety or glint of emotion, Michael Heighton walked into a Teesside police station, looked detectives in the eye and told them: "There's a dead body in my flat."

Just days before, he had manically stabbed, strangled and beaten his lover, Karen Leonard, to death.

As officers listened to his sinister confession, his demeanour was so matter-of-fact it was chilling.

He told police he'd killed someone. He told them he wanted to give himself up. He told them exactly where they'd find his girlfriend's corpse. But, strangely, he claimed he had no idea how the 40-year-old single mother died.

"When he turned himself in he stated there was a dead body in his flat," said Acting Detective Chief Inspector Dave Lamplough, who led the investigation.

"He was very calm when he admitted it at the police station.

"But during interviews he claimed he had no recollection of the events during or after Karen's death."

True to Heighton's word, police entered their suspect's flat -within a grand, three-storey mock-Tudor semi on Middlesbrough's Clairville Road -and made the macabre discovery.

The 49-year-old had kept his partner's strangled, beaten and stabbed body stashed in his apartment for several days.

With an evil twist of tragedy, history had repeated itself. Ms Leonard's mother, Carol Storey was killed by her boyfriend in a frenzied and near-identical attack in 1990.

After stabbing and strangling the 42-year-old in her Darlington home, David Hauxwell purged his conscience with a warped letter to his "Angel". He was jailed for life.

Haunted by her mum's death, Ms Leonard spent 18 months in a lodge for people with drug and drink problems. Shortly before she was killed, she had begun going it alone by moving into her own flat in Elmhurst Gardens, Hemlington. …

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