The victim, Julia Rawson, reportedly met the couple in May 2019 while she was out at a Dudley pub. Rawson was invited by Maynard-Ellis and Leesley to join them at their apartment, where she was captured on video camera entering the building. It was the last time she was seen alive.
The couple’s apartment was described in the month-long trial as a “flat of horrors” with a workbench and tools including an axe, as well as stuffed reptiles and other homemade horror masks.
Prosecutor Karim Khalil reportedly told jurors that Maynard-Ellis had a fascination with murder and enjoyed fantasies about the “sexualized killing of women.”
“The prosecution case can be stated quite shortly – for many years Maynard-Ellis has harbored dark thoughts that have focused mainly on the sexual assault of women and their violent killing,” Khalil said during the trial, according to The Guardian. “He has shown a particular interest in certain themes involving serial killers and the dismemberment of bodies."
“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," he continued. “Julia could not have known that she was about to enter a flat of horrors but she must have realized this very soon after she went in. By way of description, there were numerous stuffed creatures on the walls, snakes and reptiles in tanks, and many gory face masks of characters from horror films that Nathan Maynard-Ellis used to make.”
Maynard-Ellis, who wasn’t present in court to hear the jury’s verdicts after becoming ill, expressed during the trial that he in fact did not harbor any desire to “reenact” horror movies like the prosecution insinuated.
Instead, Maynard-Ellis claims he defended himself with a rolling pin after Rawson allegedly made “moves” towards him.
Rawson’s body parts were found in June 2019, a month after she was killed, at two different locations.
The prosecution added that in the days following the murder, Maynard-Ellis and Leesley were unfazed. In fact, Maynard-Ellis reportedly appeared “very happy” when he celebrated his birthday on May 21, nearly a week after Rawson was killed.
Both men confessed to dismembering and concealing Rawson’s body.
Leesley was only convicted of murder. Maynard-Ellis was convicted of murder as well as four counts of rape and one conviction of attempted rape from additional allegations by another woman after his arrest. Both men will be sentenced together at a later date.
The details were reportedly so horrific that the judge excused the jurors from future jury service for the next seven years.
Following the verdict, Rawson's family came out with a statement.
“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," the statement read. "We can only pray Julia knew nothing about these abhorrent acts. We are a close and loving family, clinging to each other in an attempt to support each other through this harrowing ordeal, but shall remain deeply affected and troubled by these events for the rest of our lives because Julia’s loss is felt as keenly today as when we heard she had first gone missing.”