A 19-year-old man confessed to rape and murder of a promising student who had given him a place to stay when he was too drunk to return home.
Megan Newton, 18, was found strangled and stabbed in her bed on Fletcher Road in Stoke-on-Trent.
On the first day of his trial, Joseph Trevor pleaded guilty to the murder and two counts of rape in Stafford Crown Court.
Judge Michael Chambers QC, who was imprisoned for at least 22 years for a “horrific crime”, said Trevor had carried out “a brutal and sustained attack, carried out in an extremely brutal manner in her home.”
He added, “From any point of view, she must have suffered tragically, suffered greatly, and suffered for a long time.”
The judge said that police detained Trevor and confiscated a drug bag from him earlier in the night before releasing him, as he was “unfit” to interview.
The court heard the verbal rape allegation against Trevor when he was 15 years old but was not prosecuted.
Trevor, who previously worked on Danebower Road, in Trentham, showed up to Stoke-on-Trent in court in a black suit and dark-framed glasses, and sat in a dock a few meters from the Miss Newton family.
Upon opening the Crown case, Adrian Keeling QC said: “She (Megan) invited him again as a good deed, because he was so drunk with drinks and drugs that he couldn’t cope with coming home to his parents.
He raped and strangled her until she lost consciousness, then he stabbed her in the back eight times.
He added, “He left her naked on the bed.”
Mr. Keeling said it was by chance the two of them met that night while at the same nightclub in Newcastle-Under Lyme.
Witnesses described Trevor as “fine,” but also “extremely annoying, loud and drunk,” on one occasion that “fell on his girlfriend” during the evening.
Trevor caught the attention of police after door agents spotted him with a bag of ketamine.
“The police seized the bag, told him to come back at a later time, and then left it outside police custody,” said Mr. Keeling.
Sports trainer Miss Newton was planning to go to university to become a sports therapist, hoping to secure a scholarship in the United States.
When the nightclub closed, Miss Newton and Trevor, described in court as “casual friends” at school, found themselves in the same rank as a taxi.
Trevor told his friends that his parents would “go crazy” if he got home drunk, he was trying to find a place to sleep at night.
Mr. Keeling said: “It was Megan Newton who offered him a bed all night.
“It was not strange that she offered to help.
“It was a typical act of kindness on her part but it cost her her life.”
The two arrived by taxi at her apartment in Victoria Place around 4 in the morning.
“At some point during the next 90 minutes, the defendant had sex with her, strangled her until she passed out and stabbed her to death – uncertain in any order,” said Mr. Keeling.
He added that “there is no evidence that the deceased was sexually attracted” to Trevor, although he would later lie to tell the police that he woke up to find her having sex with him.
She was strangled, unconscious but “probably alive,” when Trevor got a knife from her kitchen, repeatedly stabbed her with this force, and some blows reached her lungs.
After that, Trevor leaves the apartment only to find an exit to the apartment complex closed.
He returned to Miss Newton’s apartment, walking in front of his victim whom he had left on her bed “with utter insult”, to obtain the key that would allow him to leave before throwing the bloodstained piece away.
The court heard that when he was 15 years old, Trevor was accused of verbally raping another girl, but the matter was not pursued, Mr. Keeling said.
A few weeks before the murder, the judge was told that Trevor had made a suicide attempt because of the “depression” partly caused by this allegation.
Attorney Tim Hanum told the court that his client had expressed his remorse for the “tragedy” in which “two young lives were destroyed”.
In his Victim Impact Statement, her grandmother, Beryl Smith, read Miss Newton’s personal statement – which he made while she was presenting at college – in which she described herself as a “sports fanatic”.
She said, “I’ve become more persistent and focused – I’ll be able to prove myself and everyone around me that I’m capable of more.”