Saturday 7 December 2019

Mother questions why Facebook killer was free

Rod Minchin and Hugh Macknight

The mother of a teenage girl kidnapped, raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender she met on Facebook questioned last night why he was free to attack her daughter.

Andrea Hall also warned of the dangers of social networking sites after convicted rapist Peter Chapman (33) -- who was also suspected of other attacks -- met Ashleigh (17) online.

Yesterday, Chapman, who admitted kidnap, rape and murder, was jailed for life and told he would serve at least 35 years. Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Hall said: "Them sort of people should be tagged and they should be kept an eye on all the time. He shouldn't have been let out."

Mrs Hall, who was comforted by family and friends, said she had been powerless to have stopped Ashleigh going out.

"What could I have done?," she asked. "She was 17. You don't stop your kids from going out. You tell them to be careful.

"Make sure you tell somebody if you are going to meet a person. Don't go on your own."

Chapman was jailed in 1996 for raping two prostitutes and was also suspected, though never charged, of carrying out other rapes and sex attacks.

And last night, Merseyside Police confirmed they waited nine months to put out a national alert after Chapman -- who was on parole -- could not be contacted over a traffic offence.

Officers had visited his house in Liverpool, England, in January last year, but it took until September for the full alert to be issued. A spokesman said he did not know why the force had failed to go national earlier.

During the trial, the court heard how Chapman created an alter ego of 19-year-old Peter Cartwright on the Facebook and websites to groom the college student.

After kidnapping Ashleigh on the night of October 25, 2009, Chapman drove her to an area off the A177 at Thorpe Larches, near Sedgefield, Co Durham. It was there that he forced her to give him oral sex, before he bound and gagged her and raped her.

"After the rape, her arms were bound up again and further tape was put over her face, suffocating her to death," prosecutor Graham Reeds told Teesside Crown Court.

Irish Independent

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