Grisly Harrogate knife attack: Daniel Ainsley found guilty of murder on Mayfield Grove

A jury has found Harrogate man Daniel Ainsley guilty of murder following the grisly killing of his flatmate Mark Wolsey in a frenzied stabbing attack.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 2:31 pm
The verdict at Leeds Crown Court follows an intense, one-week trial in which jurors heard a chilling audio recording of Daniel Ainsley’s call to police following the stabbing.

Ainsley, 24, had denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to his mental-health problems but the jury returned a majority guilty verdict after almost a day’s deliberation.

The verdict follows an intense, one-week trial in which jurors heard a chilling audio recording of Ainsley’s call to police following the stabbing.

Ainsley, who has a personality disorder, murdered his flatmate after stabbing him 15 times in a frenzied, drunken “revenge” attack, but there appeared to be no apparent motive for the senseless slaying and Mr Wolsey had allowed his murderer to stay at his bedsit after he became homeless.

Ainsley, who may also have been taking crack cocaine, attacked 48-year-old Mr Wolsey with a kitchen knife at the flat they shared in Mayfield Grove, Harrogate.

Mr Wolsey was pronounced dead at the scene after police swooped on the property at about 10pm on March 5.

The discovery of his body followed a somewhat bizarre and chilling series of incidents in the hours leading up to the savage attack.

Prosecutor Mark McKone said that earlier in the evening police had been called to the flat after a neighbour heard shouting and arguing coming from the property.

Officers arrived and could hear two men “shouting at each other” as they entered the flat. They found Mr Wolsey and Ainsley inside.

Ainsley was removed from the flat and told a police constable that he had lost some medication.

Officers took Ainsley to Harrogate District Hospital’s A&E department to get him the medication or help he needed.

Mr McKone said there was “no sense of disturbance” inside the flat at that point and no visible injuries to anyone.

On arrival at hospital, police told Ainsley not to go back to the flat. However, later that night they received a call from Ainsley saying he had “stabbed someone”.

Ainsley was arrested in Mayfield Grove after officers found Mr Wolsey’s body in the flat.

Mr Wolsey was stabbed nine times in the torso and six times in the upper arm. He died of the stab wounds to his torso.

The chilling audio recording of Ainsley’s phone call to police following the stabbing and CCTV footage of his movements from the time he left hospital to retuning to the flat, were shown to the court.

The video footage, collated from various cameras near the town centre, showed Ainsley leaving the hospital and walking to the Asda store on Bower Road. He bought a box of kitchen knives at the self-service check-out, then left the store.

CCTV footage showed him walking down the side of the supermarket where he stopped next to a litter bin and opened the box of knives.

He took one of the knives out and stuffed it down the waistband of his trousers.

He hid the box behind the bin and made his way towards Mayfield Grove.

Just before 10pm, a convenience store’s CCTV cameras captured Ainsley walking along Mayfield Grove and then, seven minutes later, he called 999 to say that he had killed Mr Wolsey.

During the call to the police operator, Ainsley said: “I need you to come and arrest me.”

When the operator asks Ainsley what his name is, he shouts it down the phone and bellows: “I just killed someone! Yeah, I stabbed him to death.”

When the operator asks him who has been stabbed, Ainsley replies: “A so-called friend.”

When she asks him who had been killed, Ainsley said it was his “fxxxxxx” flatmate and began shouting out the letters of Mr Wolsey’s surname.

Ainsley, whose speech was slurred, told the operator: “I’m outside the house. He’s inside.”

When the operator asked him if he was in a bedsit, Ainsley replied: “He is. I’m not; I’m fxxxxxx homeless.”

When the operator asked him where the knife was, Ainsley replied: “Inside him!”

Ainsley, of no fixed address, later claimed that in the hours leading up to the murder he had heard a ghost’s “voice”, or “voices in his head”, whispering to him that he must stab and kill Mr Wolsey.

Judge Simon Phillips QC adjourned sentence to November 24. Ainsley was remanded in custody until then.