An English woman will spend over seven years in prison after stalking and seeking a “hit man” on the dark web to murder her victim.
On May 5, a judge in Norwich Crown Court said 44-year-old Helen Hewlett, who was previously found guilty of soliciting murder and stalking between July 1, 2022, and Aug. 13, 2022, was a “dangerous offender” and posed a “significant risk to the public,” according to Norfolk Constabulary.
On Aug. 10, 2022, Norfolk Police received information that a user on the dark web posted a request to have someone killed on a site called “Online Killers Market,” officials said.
Investigators traced the post to Hewlett. The post read, “Need someone killed in Norfolk, vital it is made to look like an accident, order has been placed through the order page and money is waiting in escrow, have home address, work address, work times and social media information if needed.”
A user replied on July 14, 2022, and conversations between Aug. 1, 2022, and Aug. 11, 2022, showed them discussing the cost for a “hit man” and agreed to a price, which was paid in Bitcoin.
The deposits were linked to a UK bank account belonging to Hewlett, which she agreed belonged to her during a police interview. The deposits totaled over $20,000 in US dollars, which was the payment amount requested on Online Killers Market.
On Aug. 12, 2022, Hewlett was arrested at her home and a cell phone was recovered from her bedroom which matched the number provided by the Bitcoin exchange platform the payment was made through. Investigators also found the app used to access the dark web, as well as three hitman websites bookmarked.
Hewlett admitted to turning to the dark web in 2022 after the breakdown of her relationship with the victim. However, the victim claimed the relationship amounted to some “flirty” messaging and sexual activity in her car, officials said.
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The victim also claimed Hewlett harassed him and he had to block various email addresses so she could not contact him. In his statement to the court, he said he was “scared, afraid of everyone” and was very wary of strangers after this took place.
Hewlett was sentenced to a total of 12 ½ years, with seven and a half years to be served in prison and five years of extended license period to determine the risk to the public by a parole panel, authorities said.
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