DCI: 'Most harrowing case I've had'

IN a statement released after the verdict today, the officer who led the murder investigation said that the case was “the most harrowing” he had ever been involved with.

IN a statement released after the verdict today, the officer who led the murder investigation said that the case was “the most harrowing” he had ever been involved with.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Matthew was murdered in a ferocious and sustained attack by David Heiss.

“I was never fortunate enough to meet Matthew, but throughout our investigation it has become clear that he was a very quiet, very helpful man, who was devoted to his family and his girlfriend, Joanna Witton.

“Matthew did not deserve to die, but he was killed by a man who could only see one way out of a situation that he had himself created. Heiss had become so besotted by Matthew's girlfriend that he decided to plan Matthew's murder several days, if not weeks, in advance.

“Having fallen out with many people over the internet, he aimed all his frustrations at Matthew and hatched his plan with the precision of a strategist in one of his computer games.

“Heiss believed he could travel to England, kill Matthew and return to Germany without anyone finding out.

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“From booking the flights to bringing a fake suicide note with him to plant beside Matthew's body, it is clear that this was a carefully planned attack. The one thing he didn't expect was that Matthew would fight so bravely for his life.

“Heiss stabbed Matthew eighty-six times in a frenzied attack, leaving a horrific scene inside the flat.

“Both I and my team were shocked at what we found, and I'm sure the scene that met Joanna when she returned home that evening will stay with her forever. We can only imagine the terror that Matthew felt that morning.

“Heiss made every effort to cover his tracks and continued to lie even when he was detained in Germany, and then before the court. Thanks to the efforts of the enquiry team, their counterparts in Germany and the prosecution team, we have been able to present the evidence to prove Heiss always intended to murder Matthew.

“The sheer brutality of the attack, combined with the clinical manner in which it was planned and executed, makes this the most harrowing case I have ever had to investigate.

“In my view, David Heiss is the most callous, cold-hearted individual I have dealt with. Throughout the trial he has failed to display any emotion about what he has done, despite the clear effect it has had on everyone else involved, and has lied continuously in an effort to escape justice.

“It is chilling that even at the end of his evidence, he agreed that he still had not given up hope of being with Joanna. I'm delighted the jury saw through these lies and found him guilty of Matthew's murder.

“While this is an extremely unusual case, one thing is clear and that is that Heiss used the internet to harass and stalk Joanna and Matthew.

“He eventually found out where they lived and other information about them that enabled him to carry out his plans, and we should all consider the amount of personal information we share on web systems like MSN and on internet forums.

“I want to pay tribute to Matthew's family and Joanna, who have behaved with immense dignity since this horrific incident. They have sat through this trial, holding back their obvious distress at the events as they have unfolded, and it is their wish that they now be allowed to get on with their lives and be left to grieve for Matthew in peace.

“I would like thank my enquiry team, who were unrelenting in gathering the evidence that has convicted Heiss, and our colleagues in Germany, who acted professionally and quickly in detaining Heiss on our behalf and have then travelled to England to give evidence at court.

“I would also like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for all their efforts in securing this conviction, and this verdict has confirmed my view that the criminal justice system will continue to ensure dangerous men like Heiss are convicted of the crimes they commit.”

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