UK - Katie Higton, 27 & Steven Harnett, 25, murdered, Huddersfield, ‘Arrest’ 15 May 2023.


Judge in court​

The judge is now in court. Osborne has entered the dock and is flanked by four officers. He is wearing a light-grey tracksuit.
He has been told to sit.


Laughing, joking sick murderer​

The Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert said: “In the early hours of the morning of 15 May 2023 you stabbed to death your former partner at the house you used to share with her. You then used her phone to lure her friend Steven Harnett to the house and when he arrived you stabbed to death him also.
"When you committed these murders four children were present and another female was present, having been held captive at knifepoint. After killing Katie and Steven you went with your knife to make sure she didn’t raise the alarm. You spoke to her and later that morning at daybreak you raped her at knifepoint.
"This short summary doesn’t begin to convey the full horror of what took place. These were brutal stabbings…"
The judge said Katie’s injuries including disfigurements to her face and Steven’s included mutilation.
She said: “You positioned both bodies side by side in the living room…”
The judge said through all of this he kept a woman captive, who described him washing between killing, “laughing and joking” at what he’d done and scrolling through Katie’s social media accounts and listening to voicenotes between Katie and Steven.


Osborne 'proud of his actions'​

The judge said he then showed a person the two bodies “as if you were proud of what you had done.”
She added she has heard powerful evidence from Katie’s family of their loss and said “it was shaken to the core of the circumstances of her death. Steven Harnett’s mother tells me how her world has come crashing down since his death and how she remains haunted by the knowledge of what happened to him. He was clearly a very loving son.
“You pleaded guilty to the murder of Katie Higton and Steven Harnett and the false imprisonment of the other woman - being referred to as woman B - at the property and her rape.”


Osborne threat to end Katie​

She is now dealing with the facts of the case and told the court Osborne and Katie had been in a relationship for five years and on 11 May 2023, she gave a statement to police. The judge said Katie told police things were good at rhe start of the relationship, but detailed verbal and physical abuse, which became “more frequent and less predictable over time.”
The judge said the last assault was “the last straw.” She said: “Katie spent the next few days in bed unable to move but by the 2 May was well enough physically to leave the house and moved out until 12 May. She changed her relationship status to single and declined messages and phone calls from you.”
The court is hearing details of the threats Osborne made to Katie which included: “I will end you fully.”


Osborne demeanour​

Osborne is sat staring straight ahead and appears to be slightly jolting his leg and nodding as the judge speaks.


Judge re-outlining the attacks​

The judge said: “In her statement she recorded: ‘He has said if I ever get another boyfriend he will kill us both.’ On 12th May you were arrested and interviewed…You were released on bail with conditions not to attend the house at Harpe Inge. Katie then moved back into the house. Over the course of the next two days you kept watch on the house and used one of your neighbours to find out if she was in or out.”
The court heard Osborne was spending time with neighbours in the street on May 14.
It was said B challenged Osborne when she noticed him at the property and she was knocked unconscious. When she woke, he “held a knife to her neck and insisted she get Katie to come home. You took her phone so she was unable to summon help.
“When Katie arrived you ran downstairs with a knife and B heard Katie telling you to get out…You inflicted 99 knife injuries. Many of those were to the chest…”


Katie made to 'die on her own' and suffered 26 facial injuries​

The court heard Katie had suffered 26 incisions to her face. The judge said: “This was a merciless and sustained attack on a woamn who was completely defenseless. I accept the Crown’s submission some of this attack was an attempt disfigure her… heard you say ‘do you think you’re funny?..This is your fault this happened…The last time B saw her, Katie was on the floor in the hallway that she could not breathe.
“When you came upstairs you said ‘She is going to die on her own…” She pleaded to be let downstairs to be with Katie and you said ‘She is going to die on her own and you’re going to sit up here, knowing the b**** is going to die on her own.”



The court heard Osborne told the woman he was going to kill Steven and sent messages to him purporting to be Katie and even booked a taxi on an app on her mobile phone.
The judge said: “Upon entering the kitchen, you attacked Steven with the kitchen knife.” Steven suffered 24 injuries.
The judge said a “lethal injury” was caused to the aorta. It has been said Osborne then mutilated Steven’s genitals. Examination showed this was carried out when Steven was alive. The judge said it was “overwhelmingly likely Steven was unconscious.”


Bodies placed side by side​

“You told B you had done what you set out to do and the ‘b****’ wouldn’t be doing this again, you appeared calm,” the judge said.
When paramedics arrived, they found Katie’s body had been stripped and positioned. Steven’s body was by her side, positioned and “it appeared to the paramedic both bodies had been cleaned to a certain extent.”
The judge is telling the court the woman does not remember when Osborne raped her but “remembers only that the birds had started to sing.” He told her: “This is happening. I will slice your neck if you scream. This is the last time I will have sex for a long time.”


'Showing off the bodies'​

The court has said after the rape, Osborne ran B a bath but she refused and he took it himself. The judge said he then suggested someone “come round and have a look.”
She added: “You showed off the bodies, they said, as if you were proud of what you had done. When you heard the sound of police arriving you ran away, later handing yourself in…”


Whole life term consideration​

The judge said the sentence for murder is fixed by law and is one of life, but she must determine whether she imposes a whole life order or a minimum term. She said: “By whole life order I mean you will remain in prison for your whole life. By minimum term I mean a minimum term you must stay in prison before going before the Parole Board.”
She is now going through aspects of the law in relation to both sentences. She said both murders involve sexual conduct but Mr Elvidge on Osborne’s behalf submit neither murder was sexually motivated.


Sexual jealousy​

The judge said she makes the following findings: “The motivation of both killings was sexual in nature and deriven from your sexual jealousy, arising in Katie’s decision to start a relationship with Steven…You killed Katie and Steven because you believed they started seeing each other and their relationship was intimate. This is fully borne out of your messages between you and Katie including your threat to her on 10 May that if she messaged someone else you would ‘end her fully.’
“Even as you was killing her you warned her ‘I warned you…Who have you been with, you’re a s***.’ You told B that you’d done what you set out to do…These statements don’t suggest you were enraged just because she had finally left you - your primary reason for killing them both was because Katie had started a sexual relationship with another man and you were pathologically jealous of that relationship.”


Katie raped by Osborne as she lay dying​

The judge said she accepts Osborne had sex with Katie while she was dead or dying.
She said that from messages it was clear that by May 7 Katie had started a relationship with Steven. “While her messages reveal her interest in Steven they also reveal the hostility towards you and her determination to end her relationship with you,” the judge said.
“On 8th May she expressed frustration to Steven that even though she had split with you, you still attempted to control you.”
The court heard on May 10 Katie called Osborne a “freak” after receiving messages from him. “Katie wanted nothing to do with you,” the judge said.

Feels like it could be leading up to a WHO.


Everything motivated by sex​

The judge told Osborne: “Your sexual abuse of Katie’s body is consistent with your conduct generally on that. Everything you did was motivated by sex and your need to degrade and sexually humiliate.
“These murders in my judgement undoubtedly involved sexual conduct.”


Guilty pleas will not stop whole life term​

The judge has said the murders of Katie and Steven would normally be considered as exceptionally serious and give rise to a whole life order without aggravating factors.
She said “I take into account your guilty plea and the other offences you were convicted. I am required to consider whether the murders and other serious offences in combination are of exceptional seriousness. I acknowledge your guilty pleas are a mitigating factor. Their families knew they were to avoid the ordeal of a trial…
“By your guilty pleas you have accepted what you’ve done and accepted your responsibility for your crimes…However, throughout that night you knew that your actions would lead to your incarceration - there was no element of subterfuge…You were proud of what you’d done or were doing and during comments to B, messages to [another witness] and your display of the bodies all demonstrate you were proud of what you’d done and were gaining gratification from what you’d done.”
The judge said she is not persuaded that the guilty pleas should lead her to impose a minimum term rather than a whole life order.


Horrific aggravating factors​

The Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert the rape itself had a number of aggravating factors, and would have attracted a sentence of at least a sentence of 15 years before a reduction for guilty plea. She said she must also take into account any aggravating or mitigating factors.
She said there are numerous aggravating factors including his previous convictions and criminal record, the fact the murders were committed while on police bail and involved a degree of planning.
The judge said: “As for the mental and physical suffering you inflicted I don’t need to dwell on the suffering you caused Katie or Steven. I do need to dwell on the anguish you caused B. This started from the moment she saw your shadowy figure at a door…You forced her to lure Katie home and deprived her of the chance to be with Katie as she lay dying downstairs. You taunted her and of course you brutally raped her…You made her put her own safety and that of four children in the balance against the safety of Katie.
“Taking the case as a whole therefore I’m wholly satisfied that the appropriate and just disposal in this case is the imposition of a whole life order for each of the murders you committed.”
The judge said she is in no doubt that a whole life order is appropriate: “What you did that night was horrific.”


Whole life term​

Osborne has been instructed to stand: “For the murder of Katie Higton, the sentence of the court is a life sentece. I impose a whole life order.”
She has imposed the same for the murder of Steven, and a sentence of 10 years each for false imprisonment and rape, to run concurrently to each other and the whole life order.


Rot in hell​

Osborne shouted towards friends and family in the jury as he was led out. A person in the public gallery shouted “Rot in hell.”
He has been led out and the judge has left the courtroom. That is the end of the sentencing exercise.

I expect a massive police inquiry into this given that the victim went to police regarding the death threats made against her and was then murdered before the police held an "emergency" meeting about her situation.

The details of the crime are utterly horrific too.
I expect a massive police inquiry into this given that the victim went to police regarding the death threats made against her and was then murdered before the police held an "emergency" meeting about her situation.

The details of the crime are utterly horrific too.
There seems to be a need for a police enquiry after so many cases nowadays. And no doubt lessons will be learnt....

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