Judge issues stark warning to online daters following murder of Cricklewood mother

Miles Donnelly has been jailed for 23 years

Miles Donnelly has been jailed for 23 years - Credit: Archant

A judge has issued a “stark warning” to online daters after sentencing a murderer to 23 years for killing a single-mother from Cricklewood on their first date.

Usha Patel was found murdered at her home in Cricklewood

Usha Patel was found murdered at her home in Cricklewood - Credit: Archant

Miles Donnelly, 35, from Paddington, beat, stabbed and strangled 44-year-old Usha Patel. 44, in her flat in Melrose Avenue on October 7 last year.

Judge Rebecca Poulet QC, said: “This case is a stark warning to anyone who plans to meet someone following limited internet contact. That meeting must take place in a public place until one person feels they know something of the other.

“Usha Patel invited this defendant to come to her flat. She had spoken to him on on a number of occasions on the phone, and they had exchanged photos of their children.

“She was clearly anxious to meet a new partner but she paid for this invitation with her life.

“She was in my judgement an extremely vulnerable woman both by reason of her background and her way of life at the time, but also in the immediate moments leading up to her death when she was undressed and intoxicated.”

Speaking directly to Donnelly she added: “Your brutal attack on this woman must have been terrifying and agonising for her. You were aware when you went to her flat her young child was living there, you discussed it early on.

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“We’ll never know what made you fly into a rage. It seems to me likely Usha may have changed her mind about having sex or refused some particular activity.

“You strangled her with a terrible ferocity, and even now have shown no real remorse for your actions.”

Donnelly will serve 23 years for Ms Patel’s murder and 18 months to run concurrenly for the assault of his neighbour Rosie Ferrigno, who he hit over the head with a stool after she rejected his advances 30 hours later.