CCTV captures serial killer obsessive scoping out canal path where he'd later dump victim's chopped up body

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3 min read

Watch: Footage shows killers attempting to cover up crime

CCTV footage shows attempts by a serial killer-obsessed man to cover up his murder of a 42-year-old whose body was cut into 11 pieces.

Nathan Maynard-Ellis, 30, and his partner David Leesley, 25, were convicted on Monday of murdering Julia Rawson in their “flat of horrors” in Tipton, West Midlands.

Maynard-Ellis met the victim at a pub on the weekend of 11 May 2019 before taking her back to their home, which was decorated with ornamental weaponry, balaclavas, a folding dagger, crossed swords and a model of somebody holding a knife.

Nathan Maynard-Ellis, left, and David Leesley have been found guilty of murder. (West Midlands Police)
Nathan Maynard-Ellis, left, and David Leesley have been found guilty of murder. (West Midlands Police)
Julia Rawson's body was found dismembered last year. (PA/West Midlands Police)
Julia Rawson's body was found dismembered last year. (PA/West Midlands Police)

Rawson’s body was chopped into parts which were then placed into black plastic bags and hidden in undergrowth by a canal close to where the two lived.

Her remains were only found a month after the murder, in June 2019. Her hands and feet had been removed, but jurors were told that would not have helped the pair with disposing of her body.

Footage from West Midlands Police shows the pair scoping out the canal where they hid the remains, and also disposing of items at a tip.

A stretch of canal near Mission Drive in Tipton, West Midlands, which Nathan Maynard-Ellis and David Leesley were alleged to have walked along carrying the dismembered remains of Julia Rawson. (PA)
A stretch of canal near Mission Drive in Tipton, West Midlands, which Nathan Maynard-Ellis and David Leesley were alleged to have walked along carrying the dismembered remains of Julia Rawson. (PA)
Items found in the "flat of horrors". (PA/West Midlands Police)
Items found in the "flat of horrors". (PA/West Midlands Police)

Prosecutors said both men disposed of a bloodstained sofa, which is seen in the footage, burned clothing and hid rugs in a lock-up unit to cover up the crime.

The pair were also convicted of concealment of a corpse and perverting the course of justice by replacing the bloodstained carpet at the flat.

Maynard-Ellis was also convicted of four counts of rape, one of attempted rape and one of making threats to kill in relation to a different female victim, who cannot be named. She made the allegation after he was arrested.

His trial heard that he collected newspaper clippings and books on serial killers and seen psychiatrists about his violent sexual fantasies.

A workbench, tools and doll's heads found at the home of Nathan Maynard-Ellis in Tipton. (PA/West Midlands Police)
A workbench, tools and doll's heads found at the home of Nathan Maynard-Ellis in Tipton. (PA/West Midlands Police)

Karim Khalil QC said as the trial at Coventry Crown Court got under way that “for many years Maynard-Ellis has harboured dark thoughts that have focused mainly on the sexual assault of women and their violent killing”.

He showed “a particular interest in certain themes involving serial killers and the dismemberment of bodies”.

Read more: Paedophile who raped autistic teenage girl jailed for 18 years

“His boyfriend, David Leesley, knew of these interests, since their flat was full of printed materials, DVDs and videos about serial killers and the violent sexual abuse of women,” the prosecutor said.

Speaking after the guilty verdicts, Rawson’s family said: “Her death has had a devastating impact on us, the mutilation of her body and the callous way in which her remains were scattered has revolted us. We can only pray Julia knew nothing about these abhorrent acts.”