A COVENTRY man found guilty of murdering three people has been told he will never be released from prison after being given a whole life-term at Warwick Crown Court today.
Anthony Russell killed three times in the space of seven days in October 2020 and one of the largest manhunts in recent years was carried out to track him down.
It began on October 23 when Julie Williams, 58, phoned police to report her son David Williams, 31, had not been seen for two days.
Officers forced their way into her house and found her dead on the living room floor, having been violently attacked by Russell earlier in the day.
Russell fled Coventry on October 26 after the discovery of Julie Williams, with money and a mobile phone he had robbed from a 78-year-old man the day before.
Later that day officers raided Russell’s home in Riley Square, Coventry, after a tip-off that he had confessed to killing Julie and David Williams.
There they found David’s body hidden under a bed. He had also suffered multiple injuries.
The major manhunt was launched for Russell, who lived in the same road in Coventry as his first victims.
Russell used public transport to travel to Kenilworth where he immediately continued his violent spree by robbing a woman aged 71 of £200, dragging her along the ground.
Again using public transport, Russell arrived in Leamington Spa around 2.45pm where he struck up friendships with drug users.
Nicole McGregor, who was 31, became his third murder victim and her body was found in woodland on Newbold Comyn in Leamington Spa a few days later.
Nicole was 18 weeks pregnant when she was killed by Russell, only hours after he had arrived in the area. Yesterday in court he was also found guilty of her rape.
Russell was seen leaving Leamington Spa on foot on October 28, where at 2pm he again preyed on a vulnerable victim, a 75-year-old man.
After asking him for directions, Russell followed him into his home and attacked him before driving off in his car.
The manhunt was extended nationwide and Russell was finally found in Staffordshire in the early hours of October 20. He was sleeping in the car he had stolen two days earlier. A video of how police officers caught him is below.
A major investigation established how Russell had killed David first, and then his mother because she knew what had happened and would tell the police.
When questioned by officers in custody, he remained silent with a blanket over his head.
Russell has since admitted the three murders, as well as the three robberies and wounding of the car-jacking victim.
Det Supt Shaun Edwards, who heads our Homicide team, said: “This was a violent series of killings which happened over a period of just seven days, but which have left two families devastated for the rest of their lives.
“We believe that David was killed due to Russell’s mistaken belief that he was in a relationship with his girlfriend.
“When Russell went to speak to Julie about her son’s disappearance, we suspect that he confessed to David’s killing. He then killed Julie to stop her from speaking to the police.
“There’s no known link between Russell and Nicole, and it appears to be pure chance that he has encountered her.
“The huge effort that went into tracking Russell down, including national media appeals, can’t be overstated. We worked around the clock to bring him to justice, and I’m glad that that is what has happened today.
“The thoughts of everyone involved in this investigation are with the families of David and Julie, and Nicole, as well as the victims he robbed.”