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Man Convicted of Killing Boyfriend Over Grindr DMs Sentenced to Life

Man Convicted of Killing Boyfriend Over Grindr DMs Sentenced to Life

Man Guilty of Killing Boyfriend Who Received Grindr Hookup DMs on Date

The convicted killer videotaped himself scrolling through the victim’s message just minutes before stabbing him to death, according to authorities.

A U.K. man on Thursday was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison after he was found guilty on Tuesday of stabbing to death his boyfriend in a university dormitory last year shortly after discovering illicit Grindr messages from other men on the victim’s phone.

Aaron Ray, 21, was convicted after a Newcastle jury took little more than 90 minutes to convict him of the murder of Jason Brockbanks, 24, in the early morning hours of September 24, 2022. Prosecutors claimed Ray was enraged after finding Brockbanks was receiving messages from other men requesting to hook up again while the two men were out on a date, local news site The Northern Echo reports. Ray videotaped himself scrolling through some of those messages while in Brockbanks’s dorm room only minutes before the killing.

Brockbanks’s lifeless body was found three days later by a member of the dormitory staff after receiving a request for a welfare check from his concerned parents.

Ray later admitted to police he stabbed Brockbanks, but claimed to have done so in self-defense after he was attacked. The two had been dating for three months after hooking up on Grindr. Ray admitted to police he used his own phone to record a video of himself scrolling through Grindr messages from other men on the victim’s phone just minutes before the murder. Ray said Brockbanks became enraged after he was accused of infidelity and violently attacked him.

“He said, ‘Shut up you psycho,’” Ray told police, according to The Northern Echo. “I remember him calling me a psycho.”

Ray told police Brockbanks had a history of angry outbursts, and attacked him almost immediately after he was confronted.

“He started getting aggressive,” he told police. “I go to walk out and he got hold of me and pushed me over. I tried to get up and he hit me. He just kept punching into me. It was on my neck area, with both fists, it was really hard.”

Ray claimed he curled up into a ball and grabbed a nearby knife only in self-defense. While he admitted to stabbing Brockbanks, he claimed to have been unaware of the severity of the injuries and only left at the victim’s request.

Prosecutors disputed Ray’s version of events, producing past boyfriends who testified Ray had similarly scrolled through their phones for proof of infidelity, and grew angry and abusive if he believed they were seeing other men.

They also showed CCTV footage showing the pair returning from a night of drinking in the Pink Triangle district of LGBTQ+ bars in the city. At one point Ray was seen kicking at Brockbanks and angrily taking his key card to access the building, and later slamming open a hallway door once the two are inside the building. Ray was caught on video leaving the building alone 36 minutes later, less than three minutes after the video recording of the victim’s phone ended.

An autopsy showed Brockbanks suffered three stabbing wounds: two wounds to the back and a fatal wound to his torso on the right side just above the hip. They believe he was stabbed while in bed covered with a duvet, and that it took nearly an hour for him to bleed out. They also said he might have lived had he received prompt medical attention.

The outlet reports that after Brockbanks’ body was found in his shower three days after the attack, Ray had searched for “Can schizophrenics be murderers?”

The judge in the case, Martin Spencer, said after reading a psychiatric report on Ray, “You are not a schizophrenic, but you are a murderer.”

He added, “You are deceitful, dishonest and, when drunk, highly dangerous. Any remorse has been forced and motivated only by your self-interest. In reality, there has been no shadow of remorse on your behalf.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that Brockbanks' death happened on the wrong date.

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