A teenage babysitter was stabbed to death on Boxing Day by her secret boyfriend who tried to pin the blame for the murder on a fictitious person he created on Facebook, a court heard today.
Art student Catherine Wynter, 19, was found in a pool of blood by her mother after being stabbed multiple times while babysitting her young niece and nephew in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
Karate teacher Tony Bushby, who began dating Miss Wynter after they met at West Hertfordshire College, was arrested by police but insisted one of his friends had carried out the murder.
St Albans Crown Court was told Bushby made up the identities of four people and created false Facebook accounts for them on social networking site Facebook.
It was one of these characters he accused of murdering Miss Wynter.
Prosecutor Michael Speak told the court Bushby had used these fake identities to get closer to Miss Wynter and to trap her 'in a web of malicious deception'.
The profile pages of Dan Tress, Cyn Darwin, Shane Pleuon and Krystal Stanguard featured photographs Bushby had found on the internet.
He then contacted Miss Wynter through the four identities, who had no idea they were not real people - using them to impress Miss Wynter by saying flattering things about himself.
The prosecutor said: 'He systematically tricked Katy over a period of time into believing that she was in contact via Facebook, not only with the defendant, but also with a small circle of his close friends.
'In fact, this small circle of Facebook friends was entirely fictitious. They were all people the defendant had invented. They did not exist.'
When arrested by police, Bushby, also 19, claimed Dan Tress murdered Miss Wynter.
The court heard how Miss Wynter, known as Katy, had been stabbed repeatedly and had 23 wounds on her body, including 13 serious stab injuries.
The jury was told how Miss Wynter agreed to babysit for her sister Sabrina while she spent Boxing Day night with her boyfriend and his parents.
Her mother Joy Davies went to check on her just after 8am on December 27 last year and saw blood on the front door.
Mr Speak said: 'She had just gone round to make sure that everything was OK.
'When she got to her daughter Sabrina’s front door she noticed, and of course it was immediately unsettling, what she thought might be blood on the front door and she saw that a light was on upstairs in her daughter’s house.
'She got in and she was immediately met by Sabrina’s two young children, and they are very young, just three and four-years-old.
'They came running down the stairs and they said together: ‘Grandma, Grandma, Katy’s dead’.'
An ambulance was called but Miss Wynter was already dead.