This love triangle doesn’t seem like it’s going to be working out any time soon. A woman is being accused of attempting to hire an assassin on the dark web to eliminate a co-worker murdered so she could have their boss all to herself.
Whitney Franks and her co-worker, Ruut Ruutna, each had romantic involvements with their boss and store manager, James Prest. In 2016, Franks and Prest started seeing each other, despite Prest having a long-term partner and a father-of-two. Ruutna joined the store in 2017 and by 2018, she too was seeing Prest. Franks couldn’t come to terms with the situation and decided to leave the Milton Keynes branch and join a different Sports Direct location.
That jealousy stayed with the 26-year-old. Somehow Franks knew that Prest would frequently leave his long-term partner and children at their house to visit Ruutna. After accusing her former boss about the affair, prosecutors believed she must have been stalking Prest to discover that information.
“I can give you the entire world James, if you can give me a chance I think you could be the happiest you have ever been in your life. I truly mean it. I hope you’re doing well inside and out. I have been trying to sort out my anxiety. I have found some things that could help, so I’m going to give them a go,” Franks wrote in an email to Prest.
The day after Franks wrote that email, a journalist investigating the dark web alerted the police about a macabre posting they had encountered. The dark web is used for soliciting all kinds of crimes but this listing was a request for a hitman.
The posting read: “I’m looking for the murder of a woman. I have £1,000 and I am willing to pay more. This woman has caused a lot of problems for myself and others. Please can you help sort this out.” It also included the name and address of Ruutna.
Authorities contact Ruutna and provided her with a safe house for her own safety. After officers showed her the message, she was asked if she had any idea who would want her killed. “I have a hunch of who it is,” she said.
Franks was arrested in September 2020 and admitted during questioning that she had posted the hit job ad on the dark web.
“In a police interview, she admitted looking at the website generally, and a pop-up came up, which she clicked on and took her to the dark web. Her curiosity got the better of her and it was offering drugs, weapons — and murder. She couldn’t believe such a website existed and that it must have been a scam. She wanted to examine if it was a scam,” prosecutors said.
The prosecution couldn’t believe their ears, especially after the evidence that was provided. Franks explanation failed to convince the prosecution. Franks trial is ongoing after she continues to deny one count of soliciting murder.