Woman jailed for trying to hire hitman

A 12 year-old woman was held in prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill her love rival.

Whitney Franks (26 years old) was so upset by a co-worker at Sports Direct, who was having sex also with their boss, that she searched the internet for a contract killer to take her out.

A spurned lover offered $1693 to assassinate Rutt Ruutna, 29 years old. However, a BBC investigative journalist uncovered her plot and tipped off police. The Sun reported.

Franks, dressed in a black top and high ponytail, cried in the dock as Judge Paul Dugdale sentenced her to 12 years imprisonment.

A court previously heard the defendant was competing for the affections of Franks’ general manager James Prest.

Despite both women knowing he had a partner and two children, and the affairs he was having each of them, he still did this.

Franks’ messages, posted to a group called the Sinaloa Cartel Cyber Team – claiming to be the infamous Mexican drug cartel – had been discovered by the BBC journalist in August 2020.

Andrew Copeland, the prosecution, stated that the pair had been employed at the Midsummer Place store, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

He added: “Ms Ruttna left to go to another store but on August 18, she returned to meet up with Mr Prest.

“They became romantically involved and the relationships continued.”

It was revealed that Franks had been suspicious about the affair for more than two years during the trial.

Franks later confronted Mr Prest on August 17, 2020 visibly upset and made a comment about him sneaking off to Ms Ruttna’s house.

The next day, she sent an email to Mr Prest, in which she discussed her problems, her family and school issues, and hinted at taking her own life.

On September 1 that year, then aged 25, she sent another email to Mr Prest which read: “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. It’s true. Just give me the chance to prove it to you.”

Mr Copeland went on to discuss how Carl Miller, an investigative journalist for the BBC, busted Franks’ activity on the dark web after finding two conversations.

One read: “I’m looking for the murder of a woman. I have $1693 but I’m willing to pay more. This woman has caused a lot of problems for myself and others.”

The police tracked down Ruttna at work who was in utter disbelief, but she added: “I have a hunch who did this – Whitney Franks.”

Franks was arrested and interrogated under caution. She said that she had browsed the dark internet because she was interested.

The defendant’s statements from Starling bank account indicated that $478.50 had been produced into a Bitcoin wallet.

The jury found Franks guilty in relation to solicitation of murder, saying it was akin to attempted murder – Franks denied the charge claiming the website was a scam and her victim was not in danger.

After only four hours of deliberations in July, she was unanimously convicted for soliciting murder.

Defending, James McCrindell said Franks had been isolated over the 2020 lockdown with “no-day-to day structure” which he said “exacerbated her jealousy” of Ms Ruutna.

And he argued that because Franks – who had good character references in the past – had made an effort to get her Bitcoin back, the inference must be that she persisted and then stopped.

Sentencing in Reading Crown Court, Judge Paul Dugdale accepted Franks showed “immaturity” with the affair and was “very young, and somewhat impressionable” during her time at Sports Direct.

But he added: “Whitney Franks may have not really thought through what she was doing through naivety.

“But accessed the dark web to access an organisation calling themselves the Sinaloa Cartel Cyber Team and she tried to contact them to hire someone to kill Rutt Ruttna.

“She gave that organisation Rutt Ruutna’s name, address, social media details, everything they needed to find her.

“She said right at the start ‘I’m looking to hire for the murder of a woman’.

“I understand from everything I have read how out of character that was and, very sadly for Whitney Franks and her family and friends here, that action makes this offence very serious.”

Franks, from Two Mile Ash in Milton Keynes, Bucks. was sentenced to a total 12 year imprisonment.

Before she can be eligible for parole, she will need to complete two-thirds of her sentence.

This story originally appeared on The Sun Reproduced with permission


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