MONTREAL — Jurors at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial heard testimony Wednesday from an English journalist who met the accused less than six months before Jun Lin’s slaying.
Alex West is a reporter for the Sun newspaper in London who interviewed Magnotta in December 2011 at a hotel above a pub in Wembley over allegations the accused posted videos of cat killings.
A recording of the roughly 30-minute exchange between Magnotta and West, recorded surreptitiously by the journalist, was heard in court Wednesday.
West’s testimony, given from the Canadian High Commission in London, is key as the Crown set outs to prove that Magnotta’s acts were planned and deliberate.
The Crown contends that the accused was planning a murder up to six months in advance. Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in Lin’s slaying and dismemberment in May 2012.
West said he was following up on a tip sent to the desk about Magnotta’s whereabouts. He didn’t know who Magnotta was, but a quick look provided “a plethora of Internet hits based on simple searches for his name,” he testified.
The newspaper had written about an anonymous kitten killer one year earlier.
During the interview, Magnotta repeatedly denies having killed cats and posting videos online.
West said Magnotta appeared defensive but still sure of himself, even a bit cocky. No story was published based on the interview, West said.
Two days later, West and his employer received an email from a man they believed was Magnotta who suggested he was intending to kill a human and film the event in the near future.
The email, which was rife with spelling and grammatical mistakes, was written under the name John Kilbride, but referenced a meeting with West, leading the paper to believe Magnotta had authored it.
“Next time you hear from me it will be in a movie I am producing, that will have some humans in it, not just pussys. :),” the author writes near the end of the email, sent Dec. 10, 2011.
West testified that Kilbride was one of the victims of convicted serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, authors of the so-called Moors Murders in England in the mid-1960s.
West, 33, called the slayings part of “British criminal folklore.”
He testified the paper alerted the police about the email.
“We believed this email to be from Mr. Magnotta,” West said.
The email writer assured the newspaper it would be hearing from him again in the near future, but warns “this time, however, the victims wont be small animals.”
The author offers to send a copy of the next video and says: “You see, killing is different then smoking .. with smoking you can actually quit.”
He adds: “Once you kill, and taste blood, its impossible to stop. The urge is just too strong not to continue.”
Magnotta, 32, has admitted the physical acts of which he’s accused but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.
He faces four other charges: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.