Peterborough pensioner ‘betrayed’ by child killer who brutally stabbed her as neighbour given financial reward for bravery

A child killer who brutally stabbed a Peterborough pensioner and left for her dead “betrayed her trust”, her daughter said.

Stephen Leonard (57) of St Michael’s Gate, Parnwell, Peterborough, was last month found guilty of the attempted murder of 60-year-old Fay Mills at her home in Viney Close, Eastfield, Peterborough, after he stabbed her numerous times, nearly decapitating her.

Mark Patchett

Mark Patchett

Leonard was given a life sentence at Cambridge Crown Court today and will serve a minimum term of 17 years.

Leonard - previously known as Stephen Chafer - had also been given a life sentence in 1979 aged 17 for sexually abusing and murdering three-year-old Lorraine Holt in Derby.

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.

Leonard’s latest life sentence comes after he was convicted at trial in December last year 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 David Farrell today ruled that £750 be awarded to Mr Patchett in recognition of his bravery.

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

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

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

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