26/10/2018 14:27 BST | Updated 26/10/2018 20:13 BST

University Dropout Jesse McDonald Found Guilty Of Murdering Transgender Woman Naomi Hersi

Naomi Hersi was stabbed to death with a knife and a broken bottle.

Metropolitan Police
Jesse McDonald (left) and Natalia Darkowska (right).

A former A grade student has been found guilty of the “cold and calculating” murder of a transgender woman after a sex and drugs binge.

University dropout Jesse McDonald, 25, was looking for excitement when he contacted 36-year-old Naomi Hersi through dating website, the Old Bailey heard.

After a three-day sexual encounter, McDonald drugged and then stabbed Hersi to death with a knife and a broken bottle at a hotel near Heathrow Airport where he was living.

He then spun a web of lies as he recruited his 18-year-old girlfriend, Natalia Darkowska, to help clean up, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said McDonald had planned to dispose of the body, but the victim was found half-naked, partly covered by a rug on the floor of the small bathroom.

PA Wire/PA Images
Natalia Darkowska, 18, had denied perverting the course of justice 

McDonald accepted causing the fatal injuries but denied murder, claiming he acted in self-defence.

He and Darkowska, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, both denied perverting the course of justice.

A jury deliberated for 17 hours to find them guilty of the charges.

McDonald broke down in tears in the dock and bent over with his head in his hands before hugging his girlfriend, saying “I’m sorry”.

Darkowska also wept in the dock.