Burglar Conor Ashton, who targeted young women in terrifying raids after becoming obsessed with the Night Stalker serial killer, was at school with a double murderer.
Ashton, 23, was jailed for 12 years last week after admitting burglaries inspired by American Richard Ramirez, who was known as the “Night Stalker”.
Now we can reveal Ashton grew up streets from the double killer James Fairweather on the Greenstead Estate in Colchester, Essex.
Fairweather was a 15-year-old schoolboy when he killed James Attfield, 33, in 2014, stabbing him 102 times.
Three months later, Fairweather murdered Saudi student Nahid Almanea, 31, as she walked on a footpath just 200 metres from Ashton’s home.
Both Ashton and Fairweather attended Colchester Academy, formerly Sir Charles Lucas Arts College.
Friends say Fairweather was classmates with Ashton’s younger sister.
One former pupil said: “They were in school together and would have been walking the corridors at the same time. They certainly knew of each other.”
Another former schoolmate added: “Greenstead is a big estate, but it’s the kind of place where everyone knows each other.
“I’m not sure what went on to make those two boys from the estate the way they were. It’s quite upsetting that two such disturbed individuals have grown up round here.”
Ashton’s crime spree began in December 2013 when he burgled a student house. His next burglary the following month happened within days of Fairweather’s first offence.
Fairweather robbed his local Martin’s newsagent at knifepoint before going into school and showing the cigars he had stolen to pals.
He killed his first victim in March, 2014, three days after youth court judges had decided not to jail him over the Martin’s raid.
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After Fairweather’s arrest, police found he had collected documentaries about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and researched Stockwell Strangler Kenneth Erskine, Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright and US murderer Ted Bundy.
He got life with a minimum of 27 years in April 2016. And as he started his sentence, Ashton, who had made web searches for the “Night Stalker”, began carrying out increasingly sinister raids.
He scrawled pentagrams at his crime scenes, which was an MO of Ramirez, who murdered at least 14 people in California in 1985.
In July and August last year Ashton armed himself with knives to target two young women living alone.
Dressed in a black balaclava, he bound his victims up with plastic cable ties.
A lock-knife was found in the pocket of his school blazer following his arrest.
He had been spotted lurking in bushes while hunting for a third victim, and later told police he had wanted to kill into double figures.
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