Inside the mind of Scarlet Blake: How animal abuse and the dark web led to a Netflix-inspired murder

WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT: Scarlet Blake had dissected a cat and placed its body in a blender just months before she stalked down her male victim and murdered him in cold blood, Holly Evans writes

Tuesday 27 February 2024 11:35 GMT
Scarlett Blake had an obsession with violence, strangulation and death
Scarlett Blake had an obsession with violence, strangulation and death (Thames Valley Police )

For the vast majority of Netflix viewers, the bizarre and grizzly killing of kittens carried out by Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta will have prompted pure revulsion.

Using a plastic bag and a vacuum cleaner, he livestreamed this act of animal cruelty before going on to kill a young Chinese student.

Yet for Scarlet Blake, the three-part documentary Don’t F*** with Cats only inspired her fascination with violence, gore and death. Shortly afterwards, she would use food and a crate to capture a cat and bring it home, before similarly subjecting the animal to unspeakable violence.

Blake killed a stranger four months after putting a cat in a blender (Thames Valley Police )

With the same New Order song “True Faith” playing in the background as Magnotta used, she put a scalpel blade and handle into the cat’s eyes, before removing its fur and skin and placing its body in a blender. She later kept its heart as a memento and posed with its severed head.

In the livestream, the 26-year-old could be heard taunting: “Here we go my little friend. Oh boy, you smell like s***. I can’t wait to put you through the blender.”

Just four months later, her grotesque desire to cause harm to others dramatically escalated. After a chance encounter with Blake while walking home from a night out in Oxford, Jorge Martin Carreno ended up dead in the River Cherwell.

After six hours of deliberating, a jury at Oxford Crown Court found Blake, who remained emotionless throughout, guilty of murder. She has now been jailed for life and must serve a minimum term of 24 years before she can apply for parole.

Jorge Javier Martin Carreno was strangled and drowned by Blake while he was walking home in Oxford ( family handout)

Just hours previously, the 30-year-old BMW worker had been smiling and joking with colleagues at the Cow & Creek pub. According to one friend, he had spoken of his desire to settle down and start a family, having moved to the UK from Spain in 2019.

Yet to his misfortune, he was approached by Blake while she was out at night, wearing a heavy-duty coat and facemask and searching for a victim. After becoming lost, CCTV showed Mr Carreno sitting down in Radcliffe Square before his killer finds him and offers him her bottle of vodka.

She then later led him to the secluded Parsons Pleasure area, where she is believed to have hit him to the back of his head, strangled him and drowned him in the river, where he was found lying face down the following day.

Both Blake and her partner had filmed themselves engaging in consensual strangulation (Thames Valley Police )

A pathologist later stated their belief that he had been strangled with a ligature or neck hold until losing consciousness, before being held under the water.

His body was found the following morning by an amateur wildlife photographer, who had been out looking for kingfishers in the university parks when he spotted the soles of Mr Carreno’s shoes.

While his family and friends were left distraught by the news, police began to investigate the circumstances around his death, with investigators ruling out the possibility that it was accidental.

Meanwhile, Blake gloated to her partner in the US, Ashlynn Bell, that she had used a homemade garrotte to strangle her victim, after targeting him while he was drunk.

CCTV shows cat killer walking streets of Oxford 'looking for a victim'

“Blake did tell Bell that she had made a garrotte and ordered piano wire to make it but she never saw it,” jurors were told by defence lawyer Richard Sutton KC. “Blake also made comments about there was not much of a fight and she expected him to fight back more.”

In one of her messages, she joked: “Last time I found someone this drunk they died lol.”

Blake would later tell a jury she had seen news reports of the body being found and created a fictitious story to impress her girlfriend.

She also sought to blame Bell for making her kill the cat, saying: “There was a building up and her conditioning me to obey what she tells me to do. She would make me do things on video call like cutting myself or setting up a noose from the ceiling and putting my head through it.”

Blake has now been convicted of murder (Thames Valley Police)

During her cross examination, she spoke of her difficulties since transitioning to live as a woman at the age of 12 and of her troubled relationship with her parents. Accusing her of seeking to blame others, Mr Justice Chamberlain said this was an “elaborate attempt to rationalise” her actions.

In an act of “profound contempt”, she also returned to the crime scene on at least two occasions and took pictures to keep as mementos and bragged to another partner that she carried out the murder “because my lover said it would be hot”.

Jurors also heard that Blake had a fragmented personality, including being a cat. This would see her meow at friends “in greeting”, and did an impression of this in the courtroom to show the jury.

“It is quite strange it is very prominent when I am expressing certain emotions,” she said. “For example, the cat has a pretty strong association with joy, and I suppose the innate goodness. It is a kind of childhood innocence.”

A pixelated image of Blake holding the cat’s head after killing it (Thames Valley Police/PA Wire)

Over the course of their investigation, police found a number of videos in Blake’s possession which showed her and her partner engaging in consensual strangulation with ligatures.

One shows her partner sat on a bed pulling the cord from the leopard print dressing gown tight around her neck until she appears to collapse and then breathe heavily as she recovers.

The second clip shows Blake pulling a white cord tight around partner’s neck from behind with her again collapsing then recovering.

Also harbouring an obsession with the dressing gown, the twisted killer posed for a selfie with it just an hour before murdering Mr Carreno.

Text messages and images showed Blake’s obsession with death and murder (Thames Valley Police )

She was eventually caught by investigators after Ms Bell contacted Thames Valley Police in April 2023 and reported her actions.

Sentencing her to life behind bars, Mr Justice Chamberlain said: “The decision to kill Jorge was not a reaction to something he had said or done – it was not a momentary mistake, it was not a decision made in anger or because your emotions overcame you.

“It is the culmination of a plan you’ve been considering and formulating for months before, and after July 25 as you showed an obsession with harm and death.”

He continued: “You revelled in what you had done, returning at least twice to the scene to take photographs, and made conscious use of your status as a murderer to secure the admiration of others who shared your interests in harm, death and killing.”

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