Cat killer told ex-partner she had murdered a man with homemade garrotte, court hears

Scarlet Blake, 25, allegedly confessed to Ashlynn Bell that she had strangled Jorge Martin Carreno

Rod Minchin
Wednesday 14 February 2024 16:37 GMT
Scarlet Blake, middle
Scarlet Blake, middle (Vagner Vidal/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

A cat killer obsessed with violence and death allegedly told her ex-partner she had murdered a man whose body was later found floating in a river, a court has heard.

Scarlet Blake, 25, allegedly confessed to Ashlynn Bell that she had used a homemade garrotte to strangle Jorge Martin Carreno, 30, having targeted him as he made his way home from a night out.

It is alleged the BMW worker suffered blows to his head, was strangled and then drowned in the River Cherwell in Oxford during the early hours of July 25 2021.

Initial police inquiries identified Mr Carreno in the company of an unknown person on the night of his death.

A murder inquiry was launched when detectives received details of the alleged confession from Blake’s former partner in the US, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Details of the confession were contained in information presented to pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer ahead of him preparing a further medical report last year.

“Bell states she had seen the CCTV released to the media and confirmed this to be Blake,” Richard Sutton KC, defending, said.

“She also identifies the coat worn by Blake in the CCTV and she is in possession of this.

“Police believe we can confirm the person seen on the CCTV is Scarlet Blake.

“The disclosure Blake has made to Bell is that Blake lured Jorge away from a bar or found him alone and drunk walking from a bar and she then led him down a path to a river or pond where they sat and talked.

“She then got behind him and used a garrotte that she had made and used this on him. He stopped moving and then Blake tried to see if she could break his neck or tear his head from his neck.

“Blake couldn’t and then threw the body in the water. Bell took it that Blake thought he was dead before she tried to take his head from his neck.

“Blake did tell Bell that she had made a garrotte and ordered piano wire to make it but she never saw it.

“Blake also made comments about there was not much of a fight and she expected him to fight back more.”

Jorge Martin Carreno (HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

Dr Lockyer said there was no “definite evidence that it happened but it is a possibility” that Blake had used a garrotte on Mr Carreno.

Mr Sutton suggested there was not “significant evidence” from the post-mortem examination to support the involvement of a third party “but equally does not exclude it either”.

“That is still the position?” Mr Sutton asked.

Dr Lockyer replied: “No, because the information now available to me has changed. I based that opinion on the information that was known to me in 2022.

“There was no categoric, definite evidence that someone else had been involved in Mr Carreno’s death at that time.

“There was a person who was not identified. How that person related to the death was difficult to determine.”

Dr Lockyer said the new evidence presented to him included a video of Blake using a ligature high up around a partner’s neck.

“This case is not easy. That is why it would be foolish of me to say from the post-mortem at that time without further information of the involvement of someone else, to say this person has died as a result of pressure being applied to the neck,” he said.

“Since the evidence from the post-mortem externally was there were no injuries to the neck but there was this bruising that was noticed to the top of the neck and the face. I did acknowledge that bruising because that bruising is in my original report.

“I didn’t overinterpret that bruising at the time because the evidence which was presented to me did not support the definite possibility of someone else being involved in Mr Carreno’s death.

“The new information which was presented to me included a video of Miss Blake applying a ligature around her partner’s neck and pushing this ligature high up.

“With that information, it made me review the significance of this bruising which I noted to both sides of the neck, high up just below the jaw.

“Therefore, I then believed this bruising could be more important than originally thought because the information at the time in 2022 was that there was no involvement of neck compression.

“This is an atypical case of neck compression. It is not fatal neck compression, but it is neck compression that could cause Mr Carreno to lose consciousness.”

Based on the evidence I have been presented and the findings of the post-mortem, it would appear to me more likely than not that Mr Carreno was unconscious when he went into the water

Pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer

Dr Lockyer also told the jury that he was trying to understand why – if Mr Carreno had voluntarily entered water that was less than one metre deep – he did not just stand up.

“The possibility is that he was unconscious and the possibility of him becoming unconscious in either or both circumstances is that he received a blow to the back of the head, and he had external neck compression applied to the point of unconsciousness,” he said.

Mr Sutton asked: “Is there evidence for which the jury can say they are quite satisfied the only way in which he may have died is the input of a third party?”

The witness replied: “Forensic pathology is not a definitive science, so I cannot say definitively that the only way he has died is because of third-party involvement.

“But based on the evidence I have been presented and the findings of the post-mortem, it would appear to me more likely than not that Mr Carreno was unconscious when he went into the water.”

The court previously heard how months before the alleged murder, Blake had livestreamed the killing and dissection of a cat.

Blake, of Crotch Crescent, Oxford denies murder.

The trial continues.

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