Peterborough man guilty of brutal knife attack on a frail woman

A frail woman was left for dead following a frenzied knife attack by a man she thought of as a friend.

Stephen Leonard, (57), of St Michael’s Gate, Peterborough, brutally stabbed Fay Mills, (60), leaving her with life changing injuries.

The scene of the attack

The scene of the attack

Leonard pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but was found guilty today following a trial at Cambridge Crown Court.

He was also found guilty of common assault after wounding Mark Patchett, a neighbour who came to help Mrs Mills.

Mrs Mills, who suffers from dementia, asthma and has had a series of strokes, was alone at home when Leonard paid her a visit on Saturday, June 23, to check on her while her daughter was away.

The pair got into an argument about whether Leonard could borrow gardening equipment, during which Leonard claimed a “switch flicked in his head” and he began to attack Mrs Mills in an attempt to stop her shouting at him.

He only stopped his frenzied attack when Mr Patchett and his wife came to check on Mrs Mills after hearing her screams.

When Leonard answered the door he was described as covered in blood and when Mr Patchett requested to see Mrs Mills he lunged at him with the knife. Mr Patchett and his wife went to call the police and Leonard left the property, leaving Mrs Mills for dead.

He was later arrested by police in the garden of his home after he had armed himself with a knife.

Detective Inspector Lucy Thomson said: “When officers arrived at Mrs Mills’ home they believed she was dead due to the substantial injuries she had sustained.

“She was a frail and vulnerable woman who was attacked at home by someone she considered a friend and her life has changed irreparably due to her extensive injuries.

“I am pleased Leonard has been found guilty of these offences and I hope he receives a sentence which reflects the horror and brutality of this crime.”