Lorraine Holt was three when she was raped and murdered.
Lorraine Holt was three when she was raped and murdered.

Rake attacker unmasked as killer

A MAN who tried to decapitate a friend in a horrifying attack last year has been exposed as one of Britain's most evil child killers - who was allowed free to live under a fake name.

Stephen Leonard slashed the throat of Faye Mills, 60, so badly last July he almost cut her head off. He will be sentenced in Cambridge later today.

The 57-year-old was convicted of her attempted murder last month. And it was then revealed he was in fact Stephen Chafer, who was jailed for life in 1979 for the rape and murder of three-year-old Lorraine Holt, whose stabbed body he left lying in the snow.

He was released in 2002 by the Parole Board, believing he was no longer dangerous. But Lorraine's father Jim Holt told news.com.au he always knew the killer would strike again.

"I know what I want - I want the death penalty. But I can't have it, so instead I want life - which is, life means life - meaning he comes out in a box."

Mr Holt said it was a national disgrace Leonard was allowed out after the brutal rape and murder of his daughter.

"This would never have happened … This is the third time (and) they let him out and now he has done this."

Leonard spent 23 years behind bars for Lorraine's murder. More than a decade after his release he disabled the fire alarms in his block of nine apartments and then set his flat alight.

He was arrested again and admitted arson with being reckless whether life would be endangered. He was returned to prison, but was released on parole in August 2017.


Less than a year later, on June 23, 2018, he went to the home of Ms Mills in Peterborough, a woman he had known for 15 years, who suffered from dementia.

The pair argued over a rake - and Leonard took the rake and bashed Ms Mills over the head with it, before taking a knife and stabbing her.

The attack was described in court as "frenzied". But the horror didn't end there.

Prosecutor Charles Falk told Cambridge Crown Court Leonard almost cut Ms Mills' head off, the BBC reported.

"He inflicted multiple stab wounds all over her body and almost decapitated her and then tried to stab her neighbour who intervened after hearing her screams."

Leonard claimed a "switch flicked in his head".



The neighbour, Mark Patchett, told the Press Association of the moment he came across the brutal attack.

"He was torturing her - he stabbed her more than 30 times. I think he might have been trying to cut her head off."

He added: "He lunged at me with a knife but I swerved it and he just skimmed my face. If I hadn't pulled away I might not have been here today."

Mr Patchett said it was "disgusting" he was allowed out of prison.

The court heard it was a miracle Ms Mills survived given the extent of the "slash" across her neck. The wound was so bad the first officers on the scene thought she was dead.

She will never properly recover from her injuries, the court heard.

Mr Holt was sickened by the attack when he was first told. But he knew it had just been a matter of time.


The news was given to him by two local police officers from Nottingham, where he now lives. They didn't even need to tell him what they were visiting him about - he already knew it would be Leonard.

"I knew straight away. I knew. I told them. I told the Home Office I went there with a petition and I said, 'He will reoffend.' And they didn't listen. The Parole Board didn't listen … it's disgusting."

The effects of Lorraine's murder were still being felt in his family, but now the added stress by her killer once again intruding into their lives was adding even more pressure. Mr Holt was doing his best to shield his other children and his ex-wife the best he could but it was "destroying my family".

"But to go through all this again, I'm struggling and I'm no muppet."

Ever since it was revealed that Leonard was in fact Chafer, he couldn't go online or read a paper without his tragic daughter's face staring back at him.

The only reason he decided to speak to news.com.au and other media was to draw attention to the sentencing.

Lorraine’s 1979 murder is still ‘destroying’ her family.
Lorraine’s 1979 murder is still ‘destroying’ her family.


"I want that judge to (lock him away) forever. So he can never, ever get out and hurt anybody."

He planned to be in court today. Not to look Leonard in the eye but to see him "get sent down".

"I'm not bothered if he doesn't see me. Put it this way, he will remember me. He will remember me and I will show him - if I get to look him in the eye - he will see a photograph of my daughter."

Mr Holt only has one colour photograph of Lorraine and he planned to take it with him.

"To say I'm angry is an understatement. Drug dealers in this country actually get more time in this country than what he's done - they get seven to 10 years, and they come out whether they reformed or not, that's up to them. But they haven't killed anyone, they haven't raped anyone … someone that can't defend themselves."

There was a pattern to the way Leonard selected his victims.

"My daughter was three and the latest one is 60 years old and has dementia and has had three strokes. She can really defend herself can't she?

"Put him in a room with me, I'm ex-military - I would tear him apart."

He thought the Parole Board would understand if it happened to them and should be accountable for their actions.


The latest crime had meant Mr Holt has had to relive the horror of Lorraine's death again. The details of her injuries have never been revealed because they were so horrific.

Lorraine had been outside playing in the snow in the backyard of the family's Derby home, but she wandered off the property. Then known as Stephen Chafer, the 17-year-old found the small girl sitting in the snow crying.

He had been out drinking and gave her some sweets as he took her to a local church. Once there, he covered her mouth with his hand and sexually assaulted her before stabbing her little body 39 times.

"It's like reliving that whole weekend again. And believe you me what you have read is only the tip of the iceberg what he did to her. You don't even want to imagine - there is stuff you can't even print that he did to her. And yet he is supposed to be as sane as you and me."

Mr Holt was the one initially arrested "because in those days it was always the parents" but he was released without charge.

"He actually came into my house after he killed my daughter. If I knew what I know now he wouldn't be alive."

Two days later Leonard was charged with her murder. He pleaded guilty.

Leonard was related to Mr Holt's family through marriage and was trusted by the family. He even visited the family home and spoke with Mr Holt after the murder.

His biggest fear was there were more monsters like Leonard walking free. And they would strike again.

"That's my point. He's not the only child killer we have on the streets of the UK. You can be talking to a bloke next to you and you would have no idea."

Leonard will be sentenced in the UK later today.