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P&J Investigations

Killer Aberdeen graduate built system to target women with young kids on dating websites

Troon Avenue murderer Andrew Innes used his software engineering background to build a tool to target women with young kids on dating sites. reports.
Dale Haslam
Andrew Innes being led out of court
Andrew Innes, right and police at his home in Troon Avenue, Dundee

Convicted murderer Andrew Innes had developed his own system of targeting and rating women on dating sites, giving them higher scores if they had young kids.

Detectives said the Aberdeen graduate was using 34 dating sites before he killed Bennylyn and daughter Jellica.

Officers said he applied his decades of experience as a computer game maker and app developer to design a “scraper” tool that he could “bolt on” to websites.

The tool allowed Innes to include only women with young children in his search results – but he only used it on the Filipino Cupid site where he would ultimately meet Bennylyn.

Bennylyn Burke

Innes then created a spreadsheet that captured details of women’s features and number of children – and then set up a ratings system for them.

“What we found was females in their mid to late 20s with children scored highest on his matrix. It was clear that his motivation on these sites was targeting those with young children,” said Detective Chief Inspector Graham Smith, who has worked on the case for almost two years.

Scraper tool used to target specific women

Forensic computer searches were instrumental in helping detectives put Innes behind bars.

When Bennylyn was reported missing, police were able to search her mobile-phone records and establish she had met Innes in Bristol and got into a car.

Days later, officers noticed a car matching that description on Innes’s driveway on Troon Avenue in Dundee.

Troon Avenue, Dundee. Image: Steve Brown / DC Thomson.

On searching the house, police seized six electronic devices and combed them for clues in establishing how Innes had first encountered Bennylyn.

They found that he had signed up to dozens of dating websites.

DCI Smith said: “Detailed investigations revealed that Innes had a scraper tool he used when accessing websites to allow him to target specific women.

“He could categorise data on a spreadsheet, capturing women’s age, height, weight, number of children and their ages.

“He used computer software skills to draw information from websites to target women from 34 different dating sites.”

The court heard evidence from Bennylyn’s estranged husband, Lexington Burke, who said there had been a “relationship breakdown” towards the end of 2020.

Bennylyn Burke and her daughter Jellica. Image: Supplied by Police Scotland.

Bennylyn moved out of the family home with her baby daughter Jellica and into a self-contained flat in another part of Bristol, during a period of strict Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Groomed from the start

It is understood from police sources that Bennylyn was concerned she might struggle to earn money and pay rent.

But she believed those fears were allayed when Innes contacted her on Filipino Cupid.

DCI Smith said: “He groomed her from the start by offering her money to work for him and a place to stay.

“To her credit she said she could do that from Bristol.

“Bennylyn was a loving, caring mother whose vulnerability was targeted by Innes.

“Innes then attempted to get Bennylyn to send him intimate photographs, which she again refused and tried to keep him at arm’s length.”

Despite strict travel restrictions at the time banning travel between Scotland and England, Innes arranged to meet Bennylyn in Bristol.

DCI Smith said: ““We will never know why Bennylyn agreed to a meeting with Innes and then travelled with him and Jellica to his home in Dundee.

“She didn’t have any belongings with her so we do not believe she was planning to spend any length of time with him.”

She fought very hard when Innes became violent – and it cost her her life.”

Kanlungan Filipino Consortium spokeswoman

A spokeswoman for Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, a charity that has been helping Bennylyn’s family: “Innes was exerting his power over her.

“Bennylyn was a very inexperienced young person in life.

“He really lied to her and charmed her to trust him.

“It was a time when Bennylyn was very vulnerable emotionally and mentally because of the experience of lockdown and because of her experience with her marriage breakdown.

“Often predators like Innes think the best time to pounce is when women are vulnerable.

Andrew Innes. Image: DC Thomson

“She fought very hard when Innes became violent – and it cost her her life.”