American admits to killing of student, 24: Family call for long sentence as accepts manslaughter plea - UK - News - The Independent

American admits to killing of student, 24: Family call for long sentence as accepts manslaughter plea

AN American obsessed with a 24-year-old English student tracked her to Britain and knifed her to death, a court was told yesterday.

Curtis Howard, 27, from Boston, Massachusetts, met Catherine Ayling when she and other students from Crewe and Alsager College, in Cheshire, went on an exchange visit to the Bridgewater State College, near Boston.

She was not attracted to him but he became so obsessed with her that he described her as his fiancee.

When she returned to England in 1989, he followed. He was sent back to America but returned using a false passport, and, after stabbing her more than a dozen times and cutting her throat, left her body in the boot of a hire car at Gatwick airport and fled.

An unwitting witness saw the attack in May 1991 in her college car park but thought the couple were engaged in 'horseplay'.

Howard, who was extradited from the US to face trial, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Psychiatrists diagnosed him as a paranoid psychotic with a serious mental illness.

Accepting his plea at Hove Crown Court, Mr Justice Hidden adjourned the hearing case to 22 July 22 for reports.

The judge said a proper sentence might be long imprisonment or committal to a mental hospital.

Relatives of Catherine called for Howard never to be released. Her sister Teresa, 29, said: 'He should never in a million years be allowed out. Just put him away and throw away the key.'

Camden Pratt QC, for the prosecution, said that in August 1989 Catherine had gone on the one-year exchange visit to the US and Howard's interest in her was obvious.

Although Catherine always spoke to Howard, she was not attracted to him and had no sexual relations with him, Mr Pratt said. In December 1989 Catherine returned to Britain when her father died and Howard wrote and sent her an expensive leather jacket and money, although she did nothing to encourage him.

In June 1990, Howard came to Britain and Catherine's sister Sylvia found that her home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, had been broken into. A mattress and pillow had been slashed with a knife and on the bed she found a note reading: 'Catherine Ayling, you will burn in hell.'

On a door was scratched 'Catherine is dead' and on another there was a reverse swastika sign.

Howard admitted burglary and was returned to America, although not technically deported, Mr Pratt said.

Howard managed to persuade a friend, Dwayne Williams, to have a photograph taken with his glasses on and to apply for a passport. It was as Dwayne Williams that Howard regained entry to the UK. He made his way to Alsager, where he booked into a hotel and hired a car.

Then he attacked Catherine and drove to Gatwick airport. He left the body and the knife in the bloodstained boot, and flew home.

After returning to America, Howard confessed to a student adviser who alerted police when he read a report in the local paper of the abduction of Catherine. Howard was arrested by the FBI but contested extradition, claiming he would not receive a fair trial because of his race and press coverage.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week