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Man who murdered child (3) to be sentenced for brutally stabbing woman with dementia following prison release

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Undated file photo of Lorraine Holt 3, from Derby, whose mutilated body was discovered in three inches of snow in the grounds of Homelands school, near her home. Photo: PA/PA Wire

Undated file photo of Lorraine Holt 3, from Derby, whose mutilated body was discovered in three inches of snow in the grounds of Homelands school, near her home. Photo: PA/PA Wire

PA

Undated file photo of Lorraine Holt 3, from Derby, whose mutilated body was discovered in three inches of snow in the grounds of Homelands school, near her home. Photo: PA/PA Wire

A man who murdered a three-year-old girl in 1979 is to be sentenced for the attempted murder of a woman in a row over a garden rake while he was released from prison on licence.

Stephen Chafer was 17 when he was jailed for life for sexually assaulting three-year-old Lorraine Holt, before knifing her to death.

He found her sitting in the snow in tears near her home in Derby, then carried her to a nearby vicarage where he sexually assaulted her and stabbed her 39 times.

Now aged 57, he was living under the pseudonym Stephen Leonard when he launched a frenzied knife attack on 60-year-old Fay Mills.

Mrs Mills, who has dementia, was so badly injured that police believed she was already dead when they arrived at her Peterborough home on June 23 last year.

Chafer 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, Cambridgeshire Police said.

He will be sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday.

Jim Holt, the father of Lorraine Holt, has criticised the Parole Board for giving Chafer the chance to re-offend.

Mr Holt, who now lives in Nottingham, told the BBC he hoped authorities "lock him up and keep him locked up because if he comes out again he'll destroy another family".

Chafer admitted Lorraine Holt's murder and was granted parole, after serving 23 years, 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: "The Parole Board directed the release of Stephen Leonard following an oral hearing in July 2017.

"Tragically, there are rare occasions when offenders go on to commit serious further offences after being released by the Parole Board.

"Whilst this represents an extremely small proportion of cases considered, we do take each case extremely seriously and work with others in the criminal justice system to ensure that lessons are learned to help to prevent further tragedies."

PA Media