PAFU, in case you forgot, is a term coined by our dear Ami Angelowicz, which stands for “People Are Fucked Up.”
Mark Pickford, 41, from Manchester, England, has been cleared in the death of his cousin, Dawn Warburton, in what authorities believe was a “sex game gone wrong.” Yes, a sex game between cousins. Police found Pickford in Warburton’s bed in April 2013, the sheets covered in blood and her body hanging above him, her neck tied several times with his own rope, with over 30 injuries to her face and arms. Pickford claimed to remember nothing about what happened to his cousin, but did admit to having a sexual relationship with her that usually was instigated by the two of them drinking and doing drugs together.
The cousins had been out of touch for about a year when Warburton texted Pickford out of the blue, and the conversation quickly became sexual, with Warburton messaging Pickford, “I scare myself the sort of dirty sex I’m into. It would warp your mind.” In the weeks leading up to Warburton’s death, Pickford sent her violent and sexual messages, including “You’re getting tied up, I will treat you like a random victim, gonna do you Manchester style” and “Gonna tie you up for a couple of days next time I come up, bite you, burn you. I’ll kick your head in, use you and abuse you.” Pickford claimed in court that the sex they actually engaged in, however, was not violent and that he only sent those messages when he was drunk, “to be a lad,” whatever the hell that means.
So, given that Warburton was found dead with Pickford laying beneath her, how did he manage to evade conviction? Prosecutors said that Pickford had breached his duty of care towards his cousin, and asked the court to find him guilty of assault and manslaughter by gross negligence. But Pickford maintained that he only remembers drinking and doing drugs with Warburton that night, and had no memory of having sex with her at all. He said he believed she might have slipped him the drug diazepam, which was found in his system, causing him to black out. Apparently the court bought his story and found him not guilty, leading Warburton’s daughter to yell, “You’re horrible doing that to my mum.” There remains no clear explanation for how Warburton died, only proof that absolutely no good can come from having sex with your cousin.