Grieving dad says daughter killed by Plenty of Fish date ‘lived life to the full’

An inquest has opened into the death of murdered school teacher Katie Locke (Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

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A heartbroken dad described his daughter as a 'happy, beautiful soul' as an inquest opened into the death of the school teacher murdered by her date.

Katie Locke, 23, met her killer Carl Langdell on the dating app Plenty of Fish before having drinks with him in an east London pub on December 23, 2015.

The pair went back to Theobalds Park Hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, where Langdell murdered Katie before sexually assaulting her body and dumping her remains in the grounds during the early hours of Christmas Eve.

The killer had previously lied to Katie, telling her he had his own law firm, reports Herts Live.

Langdell, from Cheshunt, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years behind bars in 2016 after pleading guilty to her murder at St Albans Crownd Court.

Carl Langdell killed Katie Locke at a hotel in Cheshunt after lying to her on a dating app
(Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

Langdell was found dead with throat injuries in his cell at maximum security Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire at age of 30 on February 11, 2021.

An inquest into Katie's death began at Hatfield Coroners Court on Tuesday following an application by her family.

The hearing was initially started and then adjourned back in February 2016 due to the impending criminal proceedings.

But it is now set to take place over the next fortnight with a number of witnesses due to give evidence.

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The inquest is set to examine the role that probation, police and mental health authorities had in the lead-up to Katie's death.

Most of the evidence, the court was told, won't be about Katie – but will instead focus on Langdell's "interaction with mental health services and the criminal justice system".

Opening proceedings, assistant coroner Alison McCormick heard a moving tribute from Katie's father, Bill Locke, as he read out a pre-written letter to the packed courtroom.

Katie's parents recalled her as a 'happy, beautiful soul'
(Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

Katie, who was from Buckhurst Hill in Essex and studied history at university before going on to become a teacher, was the youngest of her three sisters.

Her dad Bill paid tribute to her loving character and told the court how she spent time in the US working with underprivileged children.

He also spoke about his daughter's love for kayaking, trips with friends and how she would do anything for anyone.

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"She lived her life to the full and didn't want to miss a minute," he said.

"One day she came home from nursery and we asked about play time. She didn't go out to play because she was too busy helping the others put their shoes on.

"Everyone loved her and she was a happy, beautiful soul. She lived a full life.

"She was a self-confident and fearless and an energetic and beautiful person.

"My wife has asked me to say that on the day Katie died, she also died."

Katie Locke's father Bill spoke movingly as the inquest into her death opened this week
(Image: SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY 01582 572222)

The inquest heard Langdell had been contacted about giving evidence before his death, but he never responded.

Back in October 2018, police, the NHS and the probation service admitted multiple failings in how they handled the case, according to an independent report probing the authorities' roles.

However they did not believe there was anything they could have done to prevent Katie's death.

Mum Jennifer asked her husband to tell the inquest that 'on the day Katie died, she also died'
(Image: SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY 01582 572222)

The report following her tragic death found that mental health services had not taken Langdell's comments seriously when he said that he wanted to kill and rape young women.

The report found that in the month after he told a mental health nurse about this wish, in March 2015, he had threatened to kill, strip and rape his girlfriend's sister, who lived at the same address as him and his girlfriend's family.

On the same day he also threatened to kill a community psychiatric nurse, and he also called Avon and Somerset police telling them he was outside his home address and was found the idea of killing someone compelling.

He was arrested by police following these allegations and admitted the offending.

Langdell was sentenced over the two threats to kill three weeks before he went on to kill Katie but, due to conflicting psychiatric reports, the judge decided to impose a suspended prison sentence on him.

The inquest, which will not involve a jury, is due to last at least two weeks, and the assistant coroner is set to give her findings of fact and conclusions later this month.

The inquest continues.

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