A “calculating and calm” student has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering Tiernan Darnton stepdad’s mother in a home fire. 94-year-old Mary Gregory was trapped by Tiernan Darnton, 21, in a house fire in Heysham, Lancashire, in 2018.
Until Darnton, who’d already confessed to the crime in a session of truth or dare, made a very similar confession in 2019 during counseling, her death was classified as an accident by the authorities.
With a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, his sentence was increased to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. On Thursday, a jury at Preston Crown Court found Darnton guilty of murder after he had previously maintained his innocence.
The judge at the sentencing phase rejected the idea that the then 17-year-old had committed “an act of kindness” when she sentenced her. So, is he a serial killer or a psychopath?
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Because he didn’t want Mrs. Gregory to live in misery due to her dementia, Darnton said he turned off the fire alarm and caused the incident. She said that “no one could possibly consider of putting an old lady in the burning building as a kindness.”
She went on: “You’d been pondering murder for a while… Serial murderers and their crimes attracted you. You had a gloomy outlook.”
According to court documents seen by the media, “disturbing material,” including plans for women to be stalked and assaulted, and a “death list” containing people’s names on it, were discovered in the hands of Darnton during his trial.
Mrs. Gregory, a habitual smoker, died in an unintentional fire on May 28, 2018, according to an early inquiry. In May 2019, police revived the case when Darnton confessed to a counselor that he had lit a curtain over the fire at the Levens Drive residence and murdered his stepfather’s mother.
“Darkest secret” game with two pals was also where he confessed to the crime, according to the court’s transcripts of his testimony.
While first admitting to fabricating sections of their talk with the counselor, he then claimed he was merely trying to impress his “edgy” buddies in a truth or dare game and also was “attention-seeking” with a counselor.
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“It is difficult to picture the fear Mrs. Gregory might have realized felt after her home was on fire and also was filled with smoke,” the judge told him.
“Neighbors were alerted to her screaming. Her weakness did not prevent her from attempting to escape, but she was stuck. “The fire department discovered her at the conservatory doors, that you had prevented her from leaving.”
She went on to say that he’d been “calm and calculating” during his testimony to the jury and that his actions indicated “a high degree of planning & premeditation.” The jury was given precise drawings of Mrs. Gregory’s house that were discovered at Darnton’s residence and depicted the layout of Mrs. Gregory’s home.
They were labeled with phrases such as “excellent hiding spot” and “rapid getaway,” as well as allusions to the necessity for a “good alibi.”
During the investigation, detectives discovered searches on his personal phone and computer dated June 2018 that included the phrases “murderer filled with sorrow” and “I’m a monster and I’m going to hell.”
Mrs. Gregory’s son, Peter Gregory, said in court that Darnton’s acts, despite the fact that he had “no genetic or legal relationship with our household whatsoever,” had had ramifications across his whole family. Tiernan Darnton was responsible for his mother’s murder, according to his son. This incident is even more horrific than the Most Horror Movies you’ve ever seen.
“Learning that Tiernan Darnton was responsible for my mother’s death, someone we had happily accepted into our house, is repulsive and devastating,” he stated.
“He spent a lot of time at Mum’s home in the months leading up to [her] death.” It was clear that she loathed and hated and feared him, and she didn’t want him in her presence.”
He said that he must “live with the weight” because his sibling, Chris Gregory, who is Darnton’s stepdad, “did not listen to [his mother’s] concerns” and “even-handed him keys” to the house.
He went on to say that he had never accepted Mrs. Gregory’s death as the result of an accident.
Senior crown prosecutor Victoria Agullo of the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS) said Tiernan Darnton intentionally caused the fire and afterward “took attempts to stop [Mrs. Gregory] from asking for assistance or leaving.”
“I can’t even begin to understand the anguish this has caused the families, losing their beloved cousin in such a tragic manner,” she expressed her sorrow.