Anthony Russell the Coventry Spree Killer
Name: Anthony Russell
Status - Spree Killer, Burglar, Robbery, Auto-theft, Rapist, Dangerous Offender.
Known Victims: 6 - 3 survived, 3 died
Length of Spree: 9 days
Date of Spree: 21 October 2020 to 30 October 2020
Locations of Crimes: Coventry, Leamington Spa, Burton-Upon-Trent (all locations are in the Midlands in the UK)
Convicted: 10 March 2022 (Jury conviction) at Warwick Crown Court, UK.
A whole life order for the murders of Nicole McGregor, David Williams and Julie Williams. No Parole
12 years for the rape of Nicole McGregor.
10 years for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
20 years total for the 3 robberies.
During October 2020 Anthony Russell went on a 9 day murder spree, where he killed 3 people, robbed, raped and assaulted people, causing a nationwide hunt to commence. At the time it was the biggest investigation the West Midlands Police had carried out. His spree began in Coventry, UK and came to an end in Burton-Upon-Trent, UK where he was apprehended by authorities as he slept in a stolen car.
During his spree he committed a number of crimes, these included 3 murders, at least 3 robberies separate to the murders, car theft/jacking, assault, and rape. The events began on the road he lived.
A man named David Williams, went missing around the 20th of October 2020, during the early hours of October the 24th his mother Julie reported him missing to the police. The events that unfolded after this was the beginning of Anthony's 9 days of terror.
David William's knew of Anthony initially as a man who lived on the same street as him. This was the same for his mother Julie, as David had been missing for a couple of days Julie naturally had been asking around if anyone had seen him and discussed with people that she would have to report him missing to the police, because something wasn't right. Julie had arranged with locals to carry out a search around the area to look for David. One of the people to join in on the search for David was Anthony Russell, Anthony acted very concerned about David's whereabouts and seemed keen to get involved.
Julie and others felt that Anthony's behaviour was off and there was speculation that he knew more about where David was than he was letting on. This made Julie more concerned and she decided to file a missing person report with the police. This was when she made the call to the police to report him missing on the 24th of October.
The very next day (25th Oct) Anthony got wind of this hearing he was suspected of being involved in David's disappearance and wasn't happy. He didn't want Julie to go to the police and tell them anything about him. He had spoken to someone he knew and told them he knew what happened to David and that Julie would have to meet the same fate as her son. He started to think she knew for sure it had something to do with him, which means he would be caught for what he had done.
Unbeknownst to the police and many others, Anthony had killed David during a dispute a few days earlier. Anthony brutally attacked David, killing him, at this point in time David's body was hidden under a bed in Anthony's home. He had beaten and strangled David with a ligature his cause of death was noted as "strangulation - neck compression". The beating he received at the hands of Anthony Russell caused 81 injuries to his body, including 6 blunt force wounds.
Anthony made his way up the street to Julies home to deal with his problem. Once he was inside her house there was a confrontation between him and Julie and he attacked her. Julie sustained 113 injuries to her body, including 7 blunt force injuries. He left her for dead on the floor of her home and fled the scene, he then continued his day as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Even going on to commit robbery later that same day. By this point the police had begun to investigate Julies missing person report into David.
After the police spoke to locals, who suggested it could have been Anthony, from his strange behaviour during the searches, they went onto high alert. There were also rumours Anthony had confessed to killing David and he was going to attack Julie next. They had become extremely concerned for Julies safety, it was approaching the night and they knew she was alone. Officers were sent out to her home, but Julie didn't answer and they could see evidence of damage so eventually forced their way into the property at around 11pm.
Once they were in Julies home they discovered her body, seeing how brutal the attack had been on her they put out a call to look for anyone behaving strangely. The next day the local media reported the incident making it public knowledge there was a killer in the area. Anthony was still local when it was announced on the news that the police had discovered Julies body and were looking for the person responsible. Again just as before Anthony acted concerned and joined in with people trying to figure out who it could be, acting completely oblivious to his actions the previous day.
Meanwhile, his mind was starting to panic, Anthony had learned of the polices discovery and saw that people seemed to suspect him so decided to flee Coventry. He had Robbed an elderly man(78) the day before, assaulting him then taking his cash and his phone. So he planned to leave using those. On the 26th of October he was seen boarding public transport heading out of Coventry, he arrived in Kenilworth where he planned to stay for a little bit and look for another person to rob, as he needed money. He attacked another elderly person a female aged 71, he stole £200 from her and badly assaulted her dragging her across the ground.
The investigation was fully underway, it was determined that Julies cause of death was down to a "violent and sustained attack" - Birmingham mail (2022). Anthony was now their prime suspect. In the early hours of the 26th of October Police were dispatched to Anthony's home but, he was not there at the time. Once they gained entry and discovered the body of David They knew they were looking at a very dangerous offender and a high alert call was put out for his immediate arrest.
He then boarded public transport and made his way to Leamington Spa arriving there around 2.45pm. He met up with some locals and spent time with them. By the morning of the 27th he had been in Leamington Spa for nearly 24 hours the authorities were aware he had been travelling using public transport. They had a rough idea of the directions he was heading in too so wanted to put the pressure on to find him before he committed any more crimes. They put out a call for high alert across all police departments in the Midlands and outwards causing a nationwide manhunt.
By that evening Anthony was aware he was wanted, he had met a young woman called Nicole via the people he had stayed with he asked her to go with him to pick up some drugs from a dealer. They made their way to a local park (Newbold Comyn) to a secluded area which Anthony had told her was were he was meeting the guy with the drugs. By this point it was dark they were isolated and alone, Anthony brutally attacked and killed Nicole. It was discovered at a later date Nicole was pregnant at the time she was attacked and killed. Her cause of death was recorded as "strangulation - neck compression" she was raped by Anthony and strangled with a ligature, and her body was just abandoned by him.
The next time Anthony was seen he was leaving Leamington Spa on foot on the 28th of October, around 2pm. At some point between him murdering Nicole and fleeing Leamington Spa he had robbed another elderly man, this time a 75 year old pensioner, who he had asked for help from with directions. After their interaction was finished Anthony followed the man home where he forced entry into his house and attacked him stealing the mans cash and his car. He then used the car to drive towards Staffordshire.
On the 29th of October Nicole's body had been discovered, it was found in dense thicket near to the river Leam her body was covered in small scratches indicating that Anthony had dragged and left her body there before running off.
It was the early hours of the 30th of October and 7 days since Anthony had become a wanted man. While doing routine checks on suspicious vehicles police had located a stolen car with a man sleeping in it. After running the details of the car it came up that it was stolen and had links to wanted criminal and murderer Anthony Russell. Learning this the police immediately apprehended Russell all of which was caught on the body cam footage of the arresting officers. There is a video of his arrest linked below. Much of Anthony's public activities were captured on CCTV which help the authorities track him and also prove his guilt in court.
Anthony Russell Pled Guilty for the murders of David Williams, his mother Julie Williams, and Nicole McGregor during his Trial in March 2022, he was also found guilty of the assaults and robberies he committed, as well as being found guilty of the rape of Nicole McGregor. He was given 3 Whole Life orders equivalent to 3 life sentences and will never leave prison.
At his trial the judge stated " You[Anthony Russell] will remain in custody for the rest of your life and can never apply to the parole board for release." - The Honourable Mr Justice Wall (2022) Anthony Russell is deemed one of the UK's most Dangerous offenders due to the sheer mindlessness and the seemingly motiveless murder he committed that triggered the bloodshed that came after. Sati Ruck from the CPS stated “While we may never know the exact motive behind the first murder and what prompted Anthony Russell’s killing spree, we know that all the attacks were deliberate, cold-hearted and designed to achieve his own ends."
The Body Camera footage of Anthony Russell's arrest made by Staffordshire Police. He was found sleeping in a car he had stolen a few days previously.
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Body Cam - a small video camera worn on the body, typically used by police officers to record arrests and evidence.
CCTV - Close Circuit Television security cameras.
CPS - Crown Prosecution Service.
Whole Life Sentence - a life sentence with no date for release, known as a Whole Life Order or Natural Life Sentence.
CPS statement on the sentencing of Anthony Russell. News, Violent crime. 11 March 2022. Available at: - https://www.cps.gov.uk/west-midlands/news/cps-statement-sentencing-anthony-russell
Paul Suart (11, March 2022). Coventry killer and rapist Anthony Russell given whole life sentence. Available at - https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/anthony-russell-murder-rape-coventry-23356520.amp
Paul Suart (11, March 2022). 'Hearts of gold' - Devastated relatives remember Anthony Russell's much-loved victims. Avalaible at: - https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/hearts-gold-devastated-relatives-remember-23361539
Triple killer facing life sentence for Midland murders. West Midlands Police (March 2022) Available at:- https://west-midlands.police.uk/news/triple-killer-facing-life-sentence-midland-murders