Facebook stalker jailed for woman's murder


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The Independent Online

A man who stalked his ex-girlfriend on Facebook before luring her to his flat and stabbing her to death was today jailed for a minimum of 21 years.

Clifford Mills, 49, was given a life sentence for the murder of Lorna Smith after being found guilty by a jury on Friday.

Passing sentence today at the Old Bailey, the Common Serjeant of London Judge Brian Barker QC said: "You have had a number of personal problems. The background to this case was one of selfish and manipulative behaviour. It was a shocking waste of a productive and a loyal life.

"This was a planned killing and an explosion of violent temper that led to the death of someone who had, over the years, done everything she could to help you."

Mills had claimed that when he committed the murder he was suffering from a mental disorder.

He told staff at St Thomas' Hospital in central London that someone called "Stan" had committed the murder, and that "Stan" existed in his head.

The judge went on: "This was a terrible act and I have no doubt that you planned to kill her and I have no doubt that she suffered before she died and you must take responsibility for your actions.

"This was a crime arising out of jealousy and anger and you have constantly sought to evade your responsibility."

Mills and Miss Smith, who was 45 when she died, met in 2002 but their relationship broke down four years later.

Mills remained in contact with her, including using the alias Charlie Manning to befriend her on Facebook.

Eventually, after Miss Smith began seeing another man, he lured her to his south London flat, where he hit her with a pick axe handle before stabbing her.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC read the court an impact statement from Miss Smith's daughter Louise Harvey.

It said: "My mum lived for her family, especially her grandchildren. She was so kind, such a hard worker and a good friend to others. I have Mum's ashes at home with me because I want to feel close to her."

Ms Harvey, who was three months pregnant when her mother died, said she felt "anguish" that Miss Smith would never meet her baby daughter.

The statement continued: "I also think about the terrible way she died and the fear and pain she must have been in. I sometimes think these thoughts will haunt me for the rest of my life."

Mills, of Morrish Road, Brixton, south London, will serve a minimum term of 21 years in prison.