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James Liddell, a 27-year-old British man with learning disabilities, has become a cautionary tale about the dangers of internet dating.

Liddell had struck up an online romance with Tanisha Williams, 20, who then lured him to her apartment where she and a friend tortured him and told him he was “going to die today.” Williams and Paige Springer, also 20, were arrested after allegedly hitting Liddell over the head with a hammer, strangling him with a rope and a cord from hair straighteners and threatening him with an electrical drill and a knife.

The judge sentenced the two women to 28 months in jail and told them, “It is a sickening case.”


Springer, who thankfully failed to make direct contact with the hammer to Liddell’s head, repeatedly said, “I want to kill him. I want to hit him.”

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Liddell might not be alive if not for an unexpected visitor who saw him bleeding and called the authorities.

The victim lives in supported housing and has a care worker. He tried to gain the attention of anyone nearby by banging on the walls. He was threatened with a knife and told: “If you move, you’re going to get stabbed.”

Prosecutor Gavin Pottinger sketched out a frightening scenario: “He thought Miss Williams was in a relationship with him, but when he arrived, she locked the door behind him and said, ‘You’re going to die today.’ He could hear Miss Williams on the phone to friends saying she was going to kill someone, and he was hit by her with a pole that caused bleeding and loss of consciousness.”

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“Further threats were made and he was dragged from the lounge to the bathroom by Miss Williams, stripped and made to get into the bath and remained there until he felt cold,” Pottinger continued. “His head was pushed under the water and an electric drill was also taken into the bathroom and brandished by Miss Williams, who kept turning it on and off, revving it. He was throttled with the electrical cord of some hair straighteners by Miss Williams.”

Williams’ lawyer, Dan Darnbrough, said her behavior could have been caused by her sometimes excessive drinking and use of marijuana. He also said that her “anti-depressant tablets turned her into a zombie.”

As for the vicious attack, he said, “She deeply regrets her actions. It will be her first custodial sentence, and she is terrified.”

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