Ex-boyfriend admits to murdering mum-of-four and her new partner before admitting to rape of another woman

5 July 2023, 16:49 | Updated: 5 July 2023, 16:55

Marcus Osbourne pleaded to guilty to murdering the couple.
Marcus Osbourne pleaded to guilty to murdering the couple. Picture: Facebook/West Yorkshire Police

By Jenny Medlicott

A man has admitted to murdering his ex who was a mum-of-four and her partner and raping another woman in the same evening.

Katie Higton, 27, and her partner, Steven Harnett, 25, were found dead in the mum-of-four’s home in Huddersfield in May.

Marcus Osbourne, 34, appeared in Leeds Crown Court today accused of both their murders.

The former partner of Ms Higton pleaded guilty to the pair’s murders on Wednesday, as well as the rape and false imprisonment of another woman.

Judge Guy Kearl KC, the Recorder of Leeds, told him: "You have pleaded guilty to the murder of two people, your former partner Katie Higton and her subsequent partner Steven Harnett.

"You planned the attacks and executed them over several hours.

"During that period of time, you had the opportunity and time to reconsider.

"You will be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. The minimum term of that sentence is what is to be determined."

Marcus Osbourne admitted to the pair's murders on Wednesday.
Marcus Osbourne admitted to the pair's murders on Wednesday. Picture: Facebook

Pathology, toxicology and other forensic reports will be carried out before he’s sentenced.

Katie Higton, who was said to have been a carer, and Steven Harnett, were found on Monday May 15 after paramedics arrived at an address in Harpe Inge.

They were pronounced dead at the scene after suffering "multiple injuries" from a blade, police said.

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said at the time it had received a mandatory referral as officers had reportedly been in contact with all three involved before the killings took place.

Katie was described by family as “the best mum” after her death, adding they were “absolutely devastated” at her death.

Osbourne’s brother, who asked not to be named, said Marcus had been in a relationship with the mum for seven years and was the father of her two eldest children, daughters aged nine and 10.

Katie was a mum of four.
Katie was a mum of four. Picture: West Yorkshire Police
Her new partner Steven Harnett was also killed in the attack
Her new partner Steven Harnett was also killed in the attack. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

Reports at the time revealed that Ms Higton’s children “were in the property when the incident took place”.

It comes after it was today revealed that Osbourne was previously jailed for four years and 10 months in 2013, after he was charged with breaking a previous girlfriend’s jaw in three places after she ended their relationship, The Sun reported.

And he returned to prison again in 2015 after attacking another girlfriend for splitting up with him, warning her she would “end up in a box” if she followed through on the break-up.

Osbourne is to be sentenced on October 4.

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