Oxford University worker appears in US court over fatal stabbing

By Mutala Yakubu
Andrew Warren in court in San Francisco. Photograph

An Oxford University employee who spent more than a week as a fugitive has appeared in court in the US accused of murdering a hairdresser whose body was found with more than 40 stab wounds.

Andrew Warren, who worked as a senior treasury assistant at Somerville College, appeared before a judge in San Francisco where he confirmed his identity. The 56-year-old handed himself in to police in California last week.

He and another defendant, Wyndham Lathem, 42, a US academic, are suspected of murdering 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau on 27 July in Chicago.

Warren declined to fight his extradition to Chicago to face the murder charge and said he would accept a public lawyer on the basis that he could not afford his own. The judge, Edward Torpoco, denied him bail and confirmed he would be held in custody.

After the hearing, Warren’s lawyer, Ariel Boyce-Smith, said: “Mr Warren is agreeable to being transported to Chicago. He wants the process to be started. I just want to remind everyone that he is presumed innocent and his agreement to go there to start the process is where we are now.”

Lathem plans to plead not guilty, according to his lawyer, Kenneth Wine, who described him as a “gentle soul”.

Chicago police said Cornell-Duranleau sustained more than 40 stab wounds to his upper body in a “very intense” attack at a high-rise apartment belonging to Lathem.

Authorities reported that the victim had been dead for at least 12 hours by the time he was found.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago force, said detectives were examining the personal relationship between Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau. “We’ve been looking a great deal, not only at the relationship between Mr Lathem and the victim, but also the connection between all three,” he said.

The two suspects were subjects of a nationwide manhunt and handed themselves in separately to authorities last week in California, more than 2,000 miles from the scene of the crime.

Warren, a resident of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, has been suspended from his job by Somerville College. Lathem, a microbiologist, was fired from his job at Northwestern University on 4 August.

During the pair’s time as fugitives, friends of Warren encouraged him to hand himself in and said he had not told anyone of his plans to visit the US.

Janice King, who said she had been a close friend of Warren’s for almost two decades, said: “This has come as a complete shock to us. He didn’t tell anybody about going to America. The first thing I knew was his sister rang me to ask whether I knew where Andy had gone.”

Warren’s family reported him missing to Thames Valley police on 25 July. He is understood to have left the UK the day before.