True Crime: The “serial killer fan” who became a murderer
Sometimes, fans can take their obsessions a little too far. Nathan Maynard-Ellis took his fascination with serial killers too far last year when he allegedly killed Julia Rawson with his boyfriend, David Leesley in their “house of horrors” house located in West Midlands, England. While neither admits to the murder, prosecutors are finally making their case as Maynard-Ellis & Leesley are in the middle of a murder trial.
While the trial is still ongoing, here’s what we know about this gruesome case and the particularly suspicious context surrounding Rawson’s murder.
Julia Rawson met with an ex-girlfriend on May 11, 2019, and took the wrong bus. She found herself in the Dudley pub, Bottle and Cork. There, Rawson allegedly met Nathan Maynard-Ellis. An unknown time later, Maynard-Ellis & Rawson took a cab to Maynard-Ellis’s house in Tipton, West Midlands. It’s unclear whether Rawson knew Maynard-Ellis shared the house with his boyfriend, David Leesley.
Later, prosecutors say Maynard-Ellis & Leesley killed Rawson at their house before dismembering her body into eleven pieces. Prosecutor Karim Khalil said they put the pieces in black body bags and dispersed them along a canal, hiding them in the undergrowth. Prosecutors also claim Maynard-Ellis & Leesley burned her clothing, disposed of their bloodstained sofa, and hid their rugs in a storage unit.
Rawson’s remains were found between June 12 and 29, 2019, a month after she was reported missing, according to Dudley News. They were found in two separate locations on an industrial estate in Dudley.
“House of horrors”
Khalil called Maynard-Ellis & Leesley’s house a “house of horrors” in his opening statement and laid out some details of what police found in their house. In their lounge area, they displayed a model of somebody holding a knife with swords & spiders mounted on a wall. There were also stuffed snakes & reptiles and handmade masks Sky News described as “gory”.
Maynard-Ellis was a particularly suspicious character, as he was a fanatic of serial killers & horror films. Khalil said Maynard-Ellis particularly enjoyed themes involving “serial killers and the dismemberment of bodies”, he said in his opening statement. Maynard-Ellis had a collection of newspaper clippings & books about the topic and even favored horror films “featuring decapitation & necrophilia”, according to Sky News.
Though collecting & fascination with serial killers might not be as threatening, Maynard-Ellis had a checkered past. At one point, he saw psychiatrists for having “thoughts of the violent, sexualized killing of women”, according to Sky News.
Following Maynard-Ellis’s arrest, another woman came forward, claiming Maynard-Ellis raped her, according to BBC News. The woman was walking along a canal when Maynard-Ellis approached her and said he wanted to show her something. Maynard-Ellis then attacked & raped the woman, and later pointed out a location where he would hide her body if he killed her.
Jurors saw a police interview in court where they heard the victim say, “He suddenly went from being calm … and said if he kills me that’s where he will put my body”, according to BBC News.
Interestingly, Maynard-Ellis admitted to being involved with Rawson’s death but, “denies it was murder”, according to Dudley News. On the other hand, Dudley News also reported Leesley denied having any part of Rawson’s murder and “blames his boyfriend”.
On October 8th, jurors were told both Maynard-Ellis & Leesley admitted to hiding a corpse and “perverting the course of justice” by disposing of a bloodstained carpet, according to BBC News. However, Leelsey still claims he didn’t participate in “any element of dismemberment”.
Despite the massive claims against them, Maynard-Ellis & Leesley both pleaded not guilty to Rawson’s murder, according to Dudley News. Maynard-Ellis was additionally charged with dismemberment but pleaded not guilty to his second charge as well. About the alleged sexual assault, BBC News reported Maynard-Ellis denied the four counts of rape against him.
Khalil made his case on October 6th, saying Rawson’s murder “was the culmination of years of pent-up fantasy and desire” for Maynard-Ellis. Khalil alleged Leesley participated by knowing about Maynard-Ellis’s interests and helping with the clean-up afterward. We have yet to hear from the defense team, as the trial is still ongoing.