Friday, October 10, 2014

Lost to a copycat....

"Our thoughts are with Elizabeth's family and we are providing support for them at this extremely difficult time," stated Detective Chief Inspector Claire Pridgeon.

Elizabeth's body was found in his bedroom shortly before 5 pm on January 24 2014 in the town of Oxted, England after Steven told his sister that Ed had made him do something bad.  When the police arrived, they found the body of Elizabeth Thomas, 17, dead in sixteen year old Steven Miles bedroom.  Miles was arrested for suspicion of murder and sectioned under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and transferred to a secure hospital.

Miles had stabbed her in the head and back, killing her.  He then used saws and tools from his father's tree surgery business to cut off her legs and an arm.  He wrapped the limbs in plastic and placed them in trash bags and covered Elizabeth's body with a large green plastic tarp.  Ed did not exist......he was more likely a manifestation of anxiety rather than schizophrenia.

Elizabeth had just begun the highly rated sixth form at Oxted School, the same school where Miles was attending as a politics student.  She had grown up in West Wickham, Southeast London and had been studying for her A-levels at the time of her death.  The pair had told friends that they were dating in October 2013 but by January 2014, Elizabeth had stated that the relationship had become difficult.

The police had stated that they believe that Miles had thought out the murder and planned it well before he killed Elizabeth.  It was reported that he had told another friend that he would murder someone in the future and they would see how similar he was to his favorite character, Dexter.  The police found the instruments he had used for the killing and dismemberment in his closet, a partially burned list of items he would need and he referred to the items as things for his murder kit.

At the time of the killing, he was reading the Hannibal Trilogy, his favorite films were Psycho, Donny Darko and Fight Club.  Miles was also a huge fan of the television series Dexter and it is believed that he was trying to copy what that character had done on the program.  People who knew Miles described him as quiet and not a problem in the neighborhood and the murder shocked many in the town.

On September 9 2014, Miles appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the murder and members of both families could be seen in court not showing much emotion.  Miles has been described as suffering from a mixed personality disorder or Asperger's syndrome but it was not explained in court how these may have affected his thinking or behavior.  The judge did tell Miles that when he was sentenced, he would take into account that he had stepped forward and admitted what he had done.  The judge also stated that Youth Services would have a report ready to be submitted to the court before the sentencing date.

On October 2 2014, Steven Miles appeared in court for his sentencing and the judge explained that he had not choice but impose the maximum.  If Miles had been an adult he would have received life in jail but because he is a minor, he received life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.  Miles was described as emotionless when the sentence was read to him.  The judge admonished him for choosing Elizabeth as the victim when he decided that he had to complete a murder.  She had befriended him and stuck up for him when others called him different.  The judge added that he had found it chilling to read that Miles had referred to Elizabeth as his project.

Lewis Power QC, who defended Miles, stated that it was a chilling, blood curdling murder that was inspired by the television program Dexter.  He added that his client had tried to emulate a character he idolized and it is a sad testament to how young people can become entrenched in modern TV blockbusters that involve violence.  He did not blame the program for causing Miles to murder but instead stated that it can lead to copy cat killings.  Miles is not the first to claim that a program or character has inspired them to commit murder and sadly, he probably will not be the last either.  I do have to wonder though....... how such a young person could think that they could murder a friend at only 16 years old.

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