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Family of man murdered by cat killer Scarlet Blake faced ‘distressing’ suggestion of suicide for two years

His friends, family and former girlfriend told jurors that Jorge Martin Carreno had been happy and positive in the lead up to his death

Holly Evans
Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:01 GMT
Scarlet Blake sentenced for life for the murder of Jorge Martin Carreno

A twisted murderer who lured an innocent man to a secluded riverbank and drowned him allowed his family to question whether he had killed himself for nearly two years.

In an act of “pure contempt”, Scarlett Blake, 26, pursued this false narrative when she eventually stood trial for the murder of Jorge Martin Carreno, 30, who was found in the River Cherwell in Oxford on 26 July 2021.

Having enjoyed an evening out with friends, Mr Carreno was approached by Blake while sitting on a bench in Radcliffe Square during the early hours of the morning.

The two were seen walking on CCTV to the secluded Parsons Pleasure area, where she is believed to have hit him in the head, strangled him and then held him under the water.

Jorge Martin Carreno’s family repeatedly denied suggestion he was suicidal (Thames Valley Police/PA Wire)

Despite Thames Valley Police releasing several media appeals with images of Blake walking with her victim, his death was initially treated as unexplained but not suspicious.

After his inquest closed in May 2022, his family were left pleading with the police to continue investigating. At the time, the pathology evidence was inconclusive, and the coroner could only deliver a narrative verdict.

Given that Blake had been wearing a heavy-duty coat with a facemask, she was not identified until April 2023, when her former girlfriend contacted police officers from the US to inform them of Blake’s identity and role in Mr Carreno’s death.

Scarlet Blake had denied murdering Mr Carreno despite boasting about it to her partners (PA Media)

Through their investigation, police discovered that Blake had an obsession with murder, violence and strangulation, and had boasted about her status as a killer to her partners.

Just four months before killing the BMW worker, she had stolen a neighbour’s cat and brutally dissected it on a livestream video.

In a homage to the Netflix documetary Don’t F*** With Cats, which sees Luka Magnotta murder kittens before killing a student, she played the same New Order song True Faith as she subjected the animal to “intense pain”.

She later placed its body in a blender, posed with its severed head and kept its heart as a memento.

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

In her cross-examination, she claimed that her girlfriend Ashlynn Bell had encouraged her to kill the cat, and had deriven sexual gratification from the thought of her murdering a human being.

While also returning to the crime scene to take a photograph with a new partner, she also said that she killed Mr Carreno as “my lover said it would be hot”.

However, she claimed before the jury that she had left him alive at the Parsons Pleasure riverbank, and suggested he may have taken his own life.

Taking to the witness stand, his former partner Irene Hidalgo said that Mr Carreno had suffered from bouts of depression but had undergone therapy and was “happy” at the time he died.

Breaking down in tears, she said he told her: “I’m ready to enjoy every single drop of this life. I spent too much time worrying.”

Blake had previously filmed herself dissecting a neighbour’s cat (Thames Valley Police/PA Wire)

“He was very trusting,” she added. “He trusted everyone even if you told him not to. He was making jokes all the time,” she said.

“He was an active and joyful person. He was the kindest person I ever met.”

The two had remained friends after ending their relationship in 2021, and Ms Hidalgo became concerned for his welfare after he stopped replying to her messages, and began contacting people she knew had been with him that night.

As she knew his password for his Google account, she was able to see that his phone had last been active in the Parsons Pleasure area. Visibly emotional, she later told jurors she had entered the water to see how he could have drowned in one foot of water when he was a naturally good swimmer.

His work colleague, Sashko Stoimenov, who had been with him at the Cow & Creek pub, also said that he had been in a “happy” mood before his death, and had shown no signs of depression or suicidal thoughts.

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

“He was saying he wanted to settle down and wanted to get married and have children and a family,” he said.

Sentencing her, Mr Justice Chamberlain said that Blake had shown complete indifference to the suffering of Mr Carreno’s family, in pursuing the suggestion that he had killed himself.

“The suggestion was bound to be profoundly distressing to Jorge’s family and friends,” he said. “If there had been any truth to it, they might well ask themselves whether there was anything they could have done to save him.

“There was no truth to it whatsoever. All the evidence showed Jorge to be happy and looking forward to the future. There was no way his family or friends could have known what you had planned for him and nothing they could have done to save him from you.”

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