Chef murdered son's girlfriend

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The Independent Online
A MAN who lured his son's teenage girlfriend to a towpath where he sexually assaulted her and then cut her throat, has been jailed for life.

Stephen Hughes tricked Rachel Barraclough into going to the riverside on the pretext that she was to meet his son, Carl, with whom she had argued the week before. When the 18-year-old arrived he murdered her with a three-inch knife and dumped her body.

Mr Justice Holland told Leeds Crown Court yesterday that the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, would decide how long Hughes should stay in jail. He told Hughes: "The verdict of the jury tells me, if I may say so, on strong evidence, that you are the person responsible for that wicked, wicked crime."

The court heard that Hughes, a hotel breakfast chef from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had telephoned Miss Barraclough to arrange the meeting in September last year.

The "gentle, caring girl who tried to please everyone" and was a regular churchgoer had been going out with Hughes's son Carl, 22, for eight months. Recently they had had a violent argument about Carl seeing another woman.

Miss Barraclough, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, had forgiven her boyfriend when she received Hughes's phone call and then caught a bus to Wakefield. The court heard that close-circuit television pictures showed her at the city's bus station with Hughes as they walked off in the direction of the towpath. Two hours later the same cameras showed him walking back alone.

As the verdict was read out, Hughes's wife Irene collapsed and paramedics were called.