Tuesday 17 January 2017

Drug dealer jailed for frenzied hammer and knife attack on young woman who rejected his advances

Emily Pennick

Published 10/04/2015 | 11:58

Leighann Duffy Photo credit:Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Leighann Duffy Photo credit:Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Byfield, 48, had pursued a relationship with 26-year-old Leighann Duffy before he armed himself with a claw hammer and a knife for the "pre-planned" attack on September 1 last year. Photo credit:Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

A violent Jamaican drug dealer who evaded deportation for years before he launched a frenzied hammer and knife attack on a young woman in her own home could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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Lloyd Byfield, 48, pursued a relationship with 26-year-old Leighann Duffy before he armed himself with a claw hammer and a knife and smashed his way her flat in Walthamstow, east London, on September 1 last year.

After pleading guilty to murder, he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 26-and-a-half years by Judge Nicholas Cooke who told him he may never be released.

He told Byfield he must have had a "heart of stone" to have killed Ms Duffy despite the presence of a young girl who was herself attacked when she tried to intervene.

Byfield, 48, had pursued a relationship with 26-year-old Leighann Duffy before he armed himself with a claw hammer and a knife for the
Byfield, 48, had pursued a relationship with 26-year-old Leighann Duffy before he armed himself with a claw hammer and a knife for the "pre-planned" attack on September 1 last year. Photo credit:Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

During the Old Bailey hearing, Judge Cooke also expressed his "unhappiness" at the failure of authorities to deport Byfield after he attacked another woman with a chisel and was jailed for 30 weeks for burglary in 2005, saying the murder could have been prevented if he had been sent back to Jamaica then.

The court heard Byfield, of no fixed abode, burst into the victim's living room and stabbed her 14 times before she managed to stagger next door clutching a wound to her neck. She died in hospital two days later.

A six-year-old child who witnessed the assault at the flat in Hatherley Road suffered minor injures but did not need hospital treatment.

Byfield fled to Hackney but was arrested days later after he stopped a police community support officer in Walthamstow High Street saying he was wanted by the police.

He told the officer: "I've done it, I'm not going to fight it. When you love someone, you are not supposed to hurt them but love can make you do stupid things. I think the devil came into my head."

But Judge Cooke told Byfield: "That's not love. Love is caring and cherishing. This was obsessive, possessive brutality, mirroring a wholly wrong attitude to women. This is the pinnacle of domestic violence, a scourge that affects the life of women and children."

The court was told that Byfield had been convicted of cannabis dealing in Jamaica before he came to Britain some time between 1999 and 2005.

He was granted leave to remain in the UK after he married a woman in 2002, despite continuing a relationship with his then girlfriend.

But after he attacked a woman and became involved in a violent burglary, he was ordered to be deported in 2007 although that never happened.

Judge Cooke told him: "You were to be deported but for reasons that have never been explained to me, that was never actioned and you remained here able to kill an innocent woman."

In a victim impact statement, Ms Duffy's mother Ann Kerr described her daughter as a "happy joyous woman".

She said: "The day Lloyd Byfield broke into Leighann's house and attacked and murdered her completely ripped our family apart and our family will never be the same again."

As an impassive Byfield was sent down, a member of Ms Duffy's family called out "scumbag, I hope you rot in hell".

Afterwards, Detective Chief Inspector Glen Lloyd said: "This was a despicable attack on a woman at home with a young child - a place where she was entitled to feel safe.

"Byfield has shown callous and murderous intent by forcing his way in and then proceeding to inflict fatal injuries on Leighann Duffy in a pre-planned attack.

"Byfield was motivated by jealousy as he had previously wished to pursue a relationship with Duffy. I can only hope today's sentence goes some small way to helping her family recover from what has been a horrendous ordeal."

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