The taunting, cannibal murderer who boasted 'I'm a monster' and was too evil for hospital treatment

The taunting, cannibal murderer who boasted 'I'm a monster' and was too evil for hospital treatment

David Harker has never revealed where he hid the head and limbs of his tragic victim

David Harker was a man obsessed with murder, depravity and violence.

An avid reader of books about murders, he told friends he wanted to become a serial killer. The words "sub-human" and "disorder" were tattooed on to his head.

And in a chilling insight into his twisted thinking, he would go on to tell psychiatrists: “People like me don’t come from those films, them films come from people like me.”

Those who knew Harker didn't take his threats and boasts too seriously at first.

That was until 1998 when he committed one of the worst crimes ever reported in the North-east.

Over 21 years later and the details remain as shocking as ever.

David Harker

Victim was lured to Harker's flat

Julie Paterson met her killer five weeks before she died.

The vulnerable mum-of-four had suffered from depression and her partner at the time, Alan Taylor, told police she often vanished, going on drinking benders around Darlington. But she would would always return.

In April 1998, after drinking with Harker in a local park, 32-year-old Julie was lured back to his flat in the town’s Harewood Grove.

There, he attacked the young woman because he was "bored".

Julie Paterson

After strangling Julie to death, Harker then mutilated and dismembered her body. He claimed he cooked part of her leg and ate it with some pasta.

Afterwards, the remorseless killer made no attempt to clean up the blood in his flat and told pals he had murdered a woman named Julie.

No-one believed the attention-seeking oddball until Julie's torso was found in a garden wrapped in a bin liner in May 1998.

Hardened detectives were horrified at Harker's flat

Police arrested Harker within hours of the grim discovery after his friends told police about his sick boasts.

He was picked up at a bail hostel in South Bank in Middlesbrough where he had been living while awaiting a court appearance charged with robbery.

Hardened detectives who entered his Darlington flat were horrified at what they found.

The flat where Julie Paterson was killed

Det Supt Barry Peart, who headed the inquiry, said at the time: “It was dark inside. There was a dank, musky smell as they entered the back door where they were confronted by heavy, widespread bloodstains.

"There was blood under the stairs and a trail of blood as if something heavy had been dragged along the hallway and into the kitchen where a number of large hooks are fixed in the ceiling."

Life imprisonment for 'evil' killer who could not be treated

In February 1999, Harker, aged 24, pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to the manslaughter of Julie Paterson on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he could not be eligible for parole for at least 14 years.

Harker was ordered to serve his time in high security prisons instead of being returned to Ashworth mental hospital where he had been held for assessment.

David Harker

One psychiatrist’s report, read to the judge in the court case, said Harker was “evil” and no hospital treatment could be given.

Speaking after the sentencing, the Teesside MP at the time, Ashok Kumar, said Harker should be left to rot on a desert island for the rest of his days.

Taunting letter sent to Julie's ex

Harker, who remains behind bars, has never revealed where he hid Julie's head, legs and arms.

He revelled in his depravity and went on to send a chilling letter to Julie's ex-partner and father of her two children, Freddie Newman, from prison.

In it he taunted the horrified dad, who had pleaded with him to share the location of Julie's hidden body parts.

Police search at the Stressholme Sewage Works, Darlington, for missing body parts

In a handwritten note, Harker said: "It’s always good to know that people are thinking of me, especially those who suffer because of my actions.

“You are correct when you speak of decency, I have none. I have no inhibitions, remorse or regret, and therefore care not one bit if your wife has a full body burial or not.

“I hope you are happy in the knowledge that you don’t suffer alone in your loss.

“Your wife was not the first or the last person I killed."

Harker continued: “You ask why I have done this evil thing. Well, I could intellectualise endlessly about murder, mutilation, decapitation and cannibalism but a man of your intellect wouldn’t be able to grasp any of it.

“So to give you something you could understand, I killed all the people I did because I enjoyed it.

“Do you hate the evil man who chopped up and ate your wife? I am not evil Mr Newman but I am a monster.

“Don’t bother writing to me again or I will show you terror unbound. I do have your address now. Goodbye Mr Newman."

Devastating impact on those closest to Julie

The disgusting crime had long-term effects on those who knew and loved Julie.

Freddie Newman never got over her death and committed suicide in 2006.

That same year, Julie's partner Alan Taylor murdered his drinking partner John Morrison.

He claimed his thinking had been impaired by alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder suffered since Julie's murder.

It had left him a broken man, he said.

He received life for the killing but, three months into the sentence, he committed suicide at Holme House Prison in Stockton.

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