Man faces life after admitting murder of Leeds student Billy Mankelow

A MAN has admitted the murder of a Leeds university student who was left for dead under city centre rail arches.

Wednesday, 12th August 2015, 2:14 pm
Richard Danter pleaded guilty via video link

Richard Danter, 31, today pleaded guilty to the murder of 20-year-old social sciences student Billy Mankelow when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Mankelow, 20, was found with “unsurvivable” head injuries at 3.20am on Saturday April 25 under the railway arches at Swinegate, near Leeds City Station.

Danter, of no fixed address, appeared in court via a video link from Armley jail for the brief plea hearing.

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Richard Danter pleaded guilty via video link

He appeared on screen wearing blue patterned t-shirt and glasses and spoke only to confirm his name and enter the guilty plea.

Danter is expected to be brought to the court on Friday August 21 to be sentenced and was remanded in custody.

Prosecutor Tahir Khan, QC, told the court Mr Mankelow’s father would attend the sentencing hearing.

The Recorder of Leeds, judge Peter Collier, QC, told Danter only a life sentence could be imposed.

Victim Billy Mankelow

Mr Mankelow is originally from Kent but was living in the Hyde Park area of the city at the time of the attack.

He died a day after he was found with serious head injuries. He was studying social sciences at the University of Leeds.

The former Starbucks employee tweeted of his excitement at being accepted into university last year.

A statement released by his family said: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of our loving son Billy and are now asking for privacy at this heartbreaking time to allow our family to grieve.”

Danter has already served a lengthy prison sentence for robbing another student after meeting him in a gay pub. He has a string of previous convictions dating from 1998 including indecent assaults and an attempted rape on an 18-year-old with learning difficulties for which he received a four-years sentence.

In 2010 Danter, then of Edinburgh Avenue, Armley, Leeds, attacked a Leeds Metropolitan University student after meeting him in a pub and taking him to a secluded spot. He then grabbed the victim by the throat and said he had a knife before throwing him against a wall and demanding cash.

The victim was frogmarched to a cash point and handed Danter £10. He threatened to “snap off” the victim’s arm if he tried to run for help. Danter had drunk 20 bottles of vodka mixer and shots before the incident and he was described as having a “colossal drink problem”.