Se­cond life jail sen­tence for child killer

‘Jus­tice’ for fam­ily af­ter wo­man left for dead

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Joel Lamy [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

The fam­ily of a Peter­bor­ough pen­sioner left for dead af­ter be­ing bru­tally stabbed said they were pleased by the at­tacker’s life sen­tence.

Stephen Leonard - pre­vi­ously known as Stephen Chafer - will serve a min­i­mum term of 17 years for the at­tempted mur­der of 60-year-old Fay Mills in a row over a gar­den rake at her home in Viney Close, East­field.

Leonard (57) of St Michael’s Gate in Parn­well, Peter­bor­ough, was pre­vi­ously jailed for life when he was 17 for sex­u­ally abus­ing and mur­der­ing three-year-old Lor­raine Holt in Derby in 1979. He stabbed the in­no­cent young girl 39 times in the at­tack af­ter abus­ing her in the vicarage.

He served 23 years in prison be­fore his re­lease in 2002.

Jim Holt, the fa­ther of Lor­raine Holt, has crit­i­cised the Pa­role Board for giv­ing Leonard the chance to re­of­fend.

Mr Holt, who now lives in Not­ting­ham and was in court to see Leonard sen­tenced on Fri­day, said out­side Cam­bridge Crown Court: “I think the Pa­role Board should look long and hard at some of their de­ci­sions be­cause they were warned he would re­of­fend.”

In a state­ment read out­side court by De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Lucy Thom­son, the Mills fam­ily said: “We’d like to say that we are very pleased with the life sen­tence that’s been given to Stephen Leonard and we’re pleased that we have some jus­tice for our mum.

“We feel so sorry that Jim Holt’s fam­ily had to re­live their trauma through this case.

“Our mum con­tin­ues to fight ev­ery day and we hope that one day we’ll have her home so we can be a fam­ily.”

Leonard ad­mit­ted Lor­raine Holt’s mur­der and was granted pa­role in 2002.

He was re­turned to prison in 2013 for torch­ing his flat, risk­ing the lives of the other res­i­dents in the build­ing, but was re­leased again in 2017.

A spokes­woman for the Pa­role Board said in an ear­lier state­ment that is “rare” for of­fend­ers to go on to com­mit se­ri­ous fur­ther of­fences af­ter be­ing re­leased on pa­role.

An­drew Rad­cliffe, mit­i­gat­ing for Leonard, said the de­fen­dant suf­fers from “mul­ti­ple men­tal dis­or­ders”.

Judge David Far­rell de­scribed Leonard as a “se­ri­ous risk to mem­bers of the pub­lic and par­tic­u­larly women”. He said he would be 74 years of age be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered for re­lease from prison.

Leonard was con­victed at trial last month of the at­tempted mur­der of Mrs Mills, and of the com­mon as­sault of her neigh­bour Mark Patch­ett, who tried to go to her aid. Mr Patch­ett, who pre­vi­ously served in the Armed Forces, suf­fered a cut to his face as he con­fronted Leonard. He said in a state­ment that the scene was “like a house of hor­rors... with blood ev­ery­where”.

Judge Far­rell ruled that £750 be awarded to Mr Patch­ett to recog­nise his brav­ery.

Pros­e­cu­tor Charles Falk said it was “frankly a mir­a­cle that (Mrs Mills) has sur­vived”.

The court heard Mrs Mills’ daugh­ter Sheila Mills had gone away to Kent on the week­end her mother was at­tacked and be­lieved she was in the care of a “close friend”.

Mr Falk, sum­maris­ing a state­ment from Sheila Mills, said: “She trusted Stephen with every­thing. He be­trayed her trust. She can­not un­der­stand how wrong she could have been.”

Stephen Leonard

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