Killer's obsession led to murder

DELUSIONAL and self-pitying, David Heiss became increasingly paranoid in his futile pursuit of Joanna Witton.

Colin Adwent

DELUSIONAL and self-pitying, David Heiss became increasingly paranoid in his futile pursuit of Joanna Witton.

The alarm bells started ringing on March 26 last year when Heiss contacted the 20-year-old online, wanting to know if Matthew Pyke was around.

After she replied he was behind her Heiss wrote: "You know it appears I have recently developed something that you would describe as having a crush on you."


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Miss Witton subsequently discovered the German had been looking at her online journal and photos of her on her Facebook page.

The environmental science student told Heiss she was flattered but nothing could come of his unrequited love.

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However, Heiss was not deterred and continued his quest to woo her.

On May 3 he wrote: "I love you Jo. I love you more than anything else in my life I really do. You are my first thought when I wake up and my last one when I go to sleep"

Miss Witton was shocked. She told Heiss not do anything to try to change her relationship with Mr Pyke. Heiss said he had not intention of doing so, but he was lying.

Showing increasing glimpses of a growing obsession, Heiss continued to stalk Miss Witton.

He talked to her about her online diary and quoted passages from it. He even said he wished he could have been there for her when her cyber-relationship with previous boyfriend James Mellor had ended.

Miss Witton became more and more alarmed.

As the days passed things took a more sinister turn.

On June 10, during a conversation with David Quinn, another user of warscentral.com, Heiss wrote: "It's my turn to be creepy."

He also listed a number of people who needed to be "erased". At number one on the list was Mr Pyke.

Heiss said: "Seriously the whole thing will end with at least one of us three dying. I have a feeling that I will be the one."

After Heiss returned to Germany following his first visit to Nottingham in June he began analysing conversations the three of them had while he was in England.

He also continued to profess his love for Miss Witton to other members of warscentral.com, the gaming chatsite she ran with Mr Pyke.

By now the situation was taking its toll on Mr Pyke.

On July 22 he gave Heiss 19 reasons why he hated him, much to the discomfort of other members on the web forum.

Mr Pyke said: “I hate the way you endlessly bug Jo when you see how annoyed she gets with you, but is too polite to say anything. I hate you because you hang around on street corners waiting for Jo to come back from work.

“I hate you for coming back to see Jo for one last time over and over again. I hate you for your inability to let things go. I hate you for your desperation.”

Heiss subsequently told Mr Quinn: “I'm feeling the strong desire to grab his (Mr Pyke's) head and smash it against a wall several times.”

Later Miss Witton told Heiss she didn't know what he was capable of.

After threatening to block him from contacting her, he begged: “I don't want to lose you as well Jo. It's my greatest fear, if you would stop talking to me.”

Heiss then told Mr Pyke's friend, Gavin Sillett, Miss Witton thought of him as a stalker, adding that now it was all or nothing.

He added: “If it's my destiny to perish then so be it. I want Jo and nobody else.”

In late July Miss Witton told Heiss he was lucky Mr Pyke was so placid: “In a lot of cases most men would have beaten the living daylights out of you.”

Heiss replied: “I'm not sure what you two are scared of.”

Later he said: “I can't imagine life without you anymore.”

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