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Cat killer jailed for life for murdering man

A cat-killer obsessed with violence and death has been jailed for life and told to serve a minimum of 24 years after being convicted of murdering a man she deliberately targeted as part of a warped sexual fantasy inspired by a Netflix documentary.

Scarlet Blake, 26, singled out Jorge Martin Carreno, 30, as he walked home from a night-out in Oxford in July 2021 before brutally attacking him.

She led him to a secluded river bank, where he was hit on the back of the head with a vodka bottle, strangled and then pushed into the River Cherwell, where he drowned.

The defendant, of Crotch Crescent, Oxford, was convicted of murder last week following a three-week trial at Oxford Crown Court.

Jorge Martin Carreno
Jorge Martin Carreno was murdered as he walked home from a night-out (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Trial judge Mr Justice Chamberlain imposed a life sentence and told Blake she would serve at least 24 years’ imprisonment before applying for parole.

Prosecutors said Blake, who is transgender, killed Mr Martin Carreno because she had a “fixation with violence and with knowing what it would be like to kill someone”.

His murder came four months after Blake live-streamed the sadistic killing of a cat, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Blake told the family pet: “Here we go my little friend. Oh boy, you smell like shit. I can’t wait to put through the blender.”

After the violent killing, she dissected the animal, removed its fur and skin, and placed its body in a blender.

During the horrific video, the New Order song True Faith plays in the background, which the court heard was in homage to the Netflix documentary Don’t F*** With Cats, in which a man kills kittens before filming the murder of a human.

Blake “boasted” about the killing with others and “her desire to open up a person like her ‘little cat friend’”.

Passing sentence on Scarlet Blake, Mr Justice Chamberlain said the defendant had a “clear sexual motivation” for the killing and derived pleasure from it.

He said: “I am sure you did derive pleasure from killing Jorge, as you had from killing the cat.

“You revelled in what you had done, returning at least twice to the scene to take photographs, and made conscious use of your status as a murderer to secure the admiration of others who shared your interests in harm, death and killing.”

The prosecution said Blake had an “extreme interest in death and in harm”, and got sexual gratification from violence and killings.

Jurors watched a disturbing video of Blake consensually tying a ligature around her then partner’s neck from behind and pulling it tight, until she appears to fall unconscious.

The court heard BMW worker Mr Martin Carreno had been out with work colleagues in Oxford city centre and was trying to get home when Blake found him sitting down in the street.

Scarlet Blake was jailed for life for murdering Jorge Martin Carreno (Thames Valley Police/PA)
Scarlet Blake was jailed for life for murdering Jorge Martin Carreno (Thames Valley Police/PA)

She was captured on CCTV prowling the streets of Oxford looking for a victim, wearing a heavy military-style hooded jacket, face mask and carrying a rucksack.

Prosecutors suggested she was carrying a “murder kit” in her rucksack, including a garrotte and leopard print dressing gown cord, which she rejected.

Giving evidence, Blake denied she was looking for a victim that night and instead had gone for a walk because she could not sleep.

She said she walked with Mr Martin Carreno to Parsons Pleasure and when she left to go home he was still alive.

“I don’t know how he died. I assumed he drowned. It wasn’t something I did. As to how, I still don’t know, I wasn’t there,” she told the jury.

It was suggested Mr Martin Carreno may have taken his own life, but any hint he was suicidal was rejected by his friends.

An empty bottle of vodka was found in the river and the bottle top was nearby on the bank, which had traces of the defendant’s DNA on it.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer said he did not believe it likely the Spanish national could have died accidentally.

The court heard Blake confessed to former partner Ashlynn Bell, who lives in the US, that she had killed him with a homemade garrotte before throwing his body in the water.

Blake smiles in a video she made of the brutal killing of a cat (Thames Valley Police/PA)
Blake smiles in a video she made of the brutal killing of a cat (Thames Valley Police/PA)

She told jurors she had made up the details of the killing because Miss Bell wanted her to kill someone after making her live-stream the killing of the cat.

“I wasn’t interested or willing – it was an awful thought to me,” she said.

“In the interest of keeping her happy, because I wanted her to kill me one day, because it’s sexually stimulating for me, that idea.

“She was wanting to make me do this thing and I was pretty much, well, at a limit, after going through the killing of the cat.”

Sentencing, Mr Justice Chamberlain accused Blake of seeking to blame others for the murder – including former partner Ms Bell.

“You told the court that you didn’t want to kill a living creature, let alone a person, and it was Ashlynn who pressurised you to do so,” he said.

“You attributed your morbid interests to a split or dissociative personality, using the language of psychiatry or psychoanalysis.

“You adopted the persona of a cat. You talked about the difficulties you had had since transitioning in childhood to live as a woman and about your troubled relationship with your parents.

“All this was part of an elaborate attempt to rationalise what you had done and shift responsibility to others.”

During her evidence, Blake claimed she had a fragmented personality, which included being a cat, and meowed at the jury to show how she would interact with friends.

“There’s a part that is just a cat, which is strange and that seems to me what the happy part of me is. In that they come out when I am happy,” she said.

“With friends I know quite well, who are aware of this part of me, I meow at them in greeting.

“It is quite strange, it is very prominent when I am expressing certain emotions.

“For example, the cat has a pretty strong association with joy, and I suppose the innate goodness. It is a kind of childhood innocence.”