NEWS
26/12/2018 14:40 GMT | Updated 27/12/2018 09:44 GMT

Man Who Tried To Kill Dementia Sufferer In Rake Row Revealed As Child Killer

Stephen Chafer murdered three-year-old Lorraine Holt in 1979 and attempted to kill a 60-year-old woman over the summer under a different name.

A man who slashed the neck of a dementia sufferer in a row over garden tools is a child killer who was released from prison last year.

Stephen Chafer, from Cambridgeshire, was 17 when he sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed Lorraine Holt, 3, in Derby.

He was released in 2002, returned to prison in 2013 for arson - but then released again on licence in 2017.

Living under the pseudonym Stephen Leonard, the 57-year-old was this month convicted of attempting to kill 60-year-old Faye Mills in Peterborough, the BBC revealed.

The fact that the two names correspond to the same man has been reported for the first time today.

Lorraine’s father Jim Holt, who was friends with Chafer, said the decision to release him had “destroyed a family”.

Somebody said to me the other day ‘he’s an animal’. And I said ‘don’t disrespect animals'Jim Holt

“Because all of this has happened it’s brought all of [Lorraine’s death] back, not just to me, but to the whole of my family,” he told the BBC.

“Somebody said to me the other day ‘he’s an animal’. And I said ‘don’t disrespect animals’.”

Lorraine was playing in her family’s back garden in Derby, on 20 January 1979, but wandered off before Chafer, related to her through marriage, found her and carried her to the grounds of the local vicarage, where he put his hand over her mouth and sexually assaulted her before stabbing her 39 times.

He later pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed, before being released in 2002. He was jailed for arson more than a decade later but got out in 2017.

But less than a year after his release he went to Mills’ home in June this year – a woman with dementia whom he had known for about 15 years.

An argument over a garden rake “caused a flick of the switch in his head”, prosecutor Charles Falk told Cambridge Crown Court, and he hit her over the head with it before grabbing a knife and stabbing her in a “frenzied” attack.

He left her with “life-changing injuries from which she will never fully recover”, Falk said.

A jury found him guilty of attempted murder and he will be sentenced on January 4.

Speaking to the BBC after learning of the new conviction, Holt’s father said he hoped authorities would “lock him up and keep him locked up because if he comes out again he’ll destroy another family”.

“He won’t go away because he gets a buzz off it, that’s my personal opinion,” he said.