Transwoman Scarlet Blake found guilty of murder of Jorge Martin Carreno

Friday 23 February 2024

A transgender cat-killer obsessed with violence and death is facing life imprisonment after being convicted of murdering a man he deliberately targeted as part of a warped sexual fantasy inspired by a Netflix documentary.

Scarlet Blake, 26, singled out Jorge Martin Carreno, 30, as he walked home from a night out in Oxford in July 2021, before brutally attacking him.

Leading him to a secluded riverbank, he was hit on the back of the head with a vodka bottle, strangled and then pushed into the River Cherwell where he drowned.

Prosecutors said Blake, who is transgender, killed Mr Martin Carreno because he had a “fixation with violence and with knowing what it would be like to kill someone”.

Blake holding a cat head after killing it

His murder came four months after Blake live-streamed the sadistic killing of a cat, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Blake told the family pet: “Here we go my little friend. Oh boy, you smell like shit. I can’t wait to put through the blender.”

After the violent killing, he dissected the animal, removed its fur and skin, and placed its body in a blender.

During the horrific video, the New Order song True Faith plays in the background, which the court heard was in homage to the Netflix documentary Don’t F*** With Cats, in which a man kills kittens before filming the murder of a human.

Blake “boasted” about the killing with others and “her desire to open up a person like her ‘little cat friend’”.

The prosecution said Blake had an “extreme interest in death and in harm” and got sexual gratification from violence and killings.

Jorge Martin Carreno

Jurors watched a disturbing video of Blake consensually tying a ligature around his then partner’s neck from behind and pulling it tight, until they appear to fall unconscious.

The court heard the BMW worker had been out with work colleagues in Oxford city centre and was trying to get home when Blake found him sitting down in the street.

Hhe was captured on CCTV prowling the streets of Oxford looking for a victim, wearing a heavy military-style hooded jacket, face mask and carrying a rucksack.

Prosecutors suggested he was carrying a “murder kit” in his rucksack, including a garrotte and leopard print dressing gown cord, which he rejected.

Giving evidence, Blake denied he was looking for a victim that night and instead had gone for a walk because he could not sleep.

He said he walked with Mr Martin Carreno to Parsons Pleasure and when he left to go home he was still alive.

“I don’t know how he died. I assumed he drowned. It wasn’t something I did. As to how, I still don’t know, I wasn’t there,” Blake told the jury.

It was suggested Mr Martin Carreno may have taken his own life, but any hint he was suicidal was rejected by his friends.

An empty bottle of vodka was found in the river and the bottle top was nearby on the bank, which had traces of the defendant’s DNA on it.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer said he did not believe it likely the Spanish national could have died accidentally.

The court heard Blake confessed to former partner Ashlynn Bell, who lives in the US, that he had killed him with a homemade garrotte before throwing his body in the water.

He told jurors he had made up the details of the killing because Miss Bell wanted him to kill someone after making him live-stream the killing of the cat.

“I wasn’t interested or willing – it was an awful thought to me,” he said.

“In the interest of keeping her happy, because I wanted her to kill me one day, because it’s sexually stimulating for me, that idea.

“She was wanting to make me do this thing and I was pretty much, well, at a limit, after going through the killing of the cat.”

Blake claimed he had a fragmented personality, which included being a cat, and meowed at the jury to show how he would interact with friends.

“There’s a part that is just a cat, which is strange and that seems to me what the happy part of me is. In that they come out when I am happy,” he said.

“With friends I know quite well, who are aware of this part of me, I meow at them in greeting.

“It is quite strange, it is very prominent when I am expressing certain emotions.

“For example, the cat has a pretty strong association with joy, and I suppose the innate goodness. It is a kind of childhood innocence.”

The defendant, of Crotch Crescent, Oxford, showed no emotion as he was convicted of murder after about around six hours of deliberations. He will be sentenced on Monday by Mr Justice Chamberlain.

As he left the dock he smiled briefly towards the public gallery.

Alison Morgan KC, prosecuting, said the Crown would be inviting the court to impose a minimum prison term starting at 30 years, because it was “a murder involving sexual or sadistic conduct”.

In a statement afterwards, Mr Martin Carreno’s family paid tribute to “our beloved son and brother”.

“The loss of Jorge has left an open wound in the heart of his family but also in all those who had the pleasure of knowing him,” they said.

“There can be no peace until justice is served. We ask not only for justice for him but also for protection to prevent other people, other families, from suffering the immense pain caused by such cruel and senseless murders.”

Detective Superintendent Jon Capps, who led the investigation, described the case as “truly disturbing”.

“This defendant showed calculated cruelty. The acts Blake has been convicted of are barbaric and chilling. The murder was premeditated with total disregard and disdain for life,” Mr Capps said.

“There can be no beginning to understanding this senseless act.”