THE detective who led the investigation into Andrew Pearson described him as a ‘calculating, evil man'.

Pearson meticulously planned the kidnap and murder of Natalie Harker by carrying out a reconnaissance of her route to work and setting up camp in nearby woodland and he planned to exact revenge.

The Northern Echo: Andrew Pearson with Natalie HarkerAndrew Pearson with Natalie Harker

The 45-year-old grabbed his victim as she cycled to work at 4.30am on October 9 last year.

Detective Inspector Steve Menzies, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Investigation Team, said Pearson meticulously planned to abduct his former partner.

He said: “Her ex-partner Andrew Pearson, a self-centred, calculating evil man had laid in wait for her down a pitch-black cycle path. Evidence proved that Pearson had planned the kidnap and murder of Natalie and the level of planning was extremely calculated and chilling.

“He knew exactly what he was going to do that morning, the days before he had started to put his plan in place, he had even been near to the cycle path at 4.30am as Natalie cycled past in the days before, that suggested he was carefully putting final preparations together for his ultimate attack upon her.

“It is very clear that the account he gave to his mother over the phone was concocted in an effort to escape justice. It was pure lies, based on self-preservation with no thought Natalie or indeed her family.”

Pearson was jailed for almost 24 years at Teesside Crown Court today for the murder and kidnap of the 30-year-old.