Feeds

Personal data warning over web forum killing

German murderer used Facebook to feed obsession

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Police have warned against posting too much personal information on the internet, after a German man was today sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a British computing student he met online.

David Heiss, 21, from Dauborn, near Limburg, developed an obsession with his victim's girlfriend, and used information the couple had posted online to plan his attack in September last year.

"David Heiss was very clever on the internet, and he learned a lot of information about Joanna Witton and Matthew Pyke and others," the BBC reports Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon of Nottinghamshire Police as saying.

Matthew Pyke, 20, died of 86 stab wounds in the flat he shared with his girlfriend, Joanna Witton.

"One of the things that's important here is that people need to realise that on their computers there is a lot of personal information that other people can gather. We know that Heiss found out a lot of information about where they lived and where they worked and all sorts of things about their social network that perhaps now with hindsight they wouldn't want him to know," Heydon said.

The killer travelled from Frankfurt to the Nottingham home of 20-year-old Pyke and Witton to carry out a brutal knife attack. The couple met Heiss online via Warcentral.com, a forum devoted to the Nintendo DS game Advanced Wars, which they ran together.

The court heard how Heiss became infatuated with Witton and obsessively visited her Facebook profile. In June last year he turned up at the couple's flat demanding to see her. After he was rebuffed, he spent almost a month in the UK stalking Witton before returning to Germany.

Heiss, who used the name "Eagle The Lightening" online, then returned to Nottingham that August, but was again rebuffed.

His final, murderous September visit was prompted when his increasingly threatening postings drew a ban from Warcentral.com. During the trial, Witton told court: "People throw threats across the internet all the time, you don't take them seriously."

Sentencing Heiss today, Mr Justice Keith said: "The fact that your motive for murder was so bizarre doesn't make your killing of Matthew any the less serious." He ordered that Heiss should serve at least 18 years. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.