Second life jail sentence for child killer
‘Justice’ for family after woman left for dead
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.”