Killer facing new life term for rape

A convicted killer was facing another life sentence tonight after he was convicted of brutally raping a woman just months after being released from prison on parole.

Mark Shirley subjected his victim to degrading and humiliating abuse in a bid to re-enact a ritualistic murder he committed 22 years ago.

Shirley, 39, who was sentenced to life in 1987 but was later released on licence, imprisoned the mother-of-five in her own home, where he attacked her at knifepoint for three and a half hours.

The Parole Board, which agreed Shirley's release in 2008, said tonight that it would be reviewing the case.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Shirley guilty of false imprisonment, rape, three counts of assault by penetration, and committing false imprisonment with the intention of committing a sexual offence.

As the verdicts were read, Shirley shook uncontrollably and his victim wept.

Mr Justice John Royce said he considered Shirley to be "a very dangerous man" and asked for a full report before sentencing him at Bristol Crown Court on 15 December.

Shirley was convicted of murdering 67-year-old Mary Wainwright in Cardiff when he was 16.

After denying the murder, he was found guilty at Cardiff Crown Court and given a life sentence.

The killer was released after 16 years on parole in 2003. He was later recalled to prison for excessive drinking but released again in August 2008.

Just seven months after his second release from prison, on 20 March this year, in north Bristol, Shirley attacked his latest victim.

Mr Justice Royce said he was considering sentencing Shirley once again to life.

Giving evidence to the jury last week, Shirley's victim fought back tears as she relived the attack.

She said Shirley repeatedly alluded to his murder victim throughout her ordeal - but she had no idea what he was talking about.

She said: "He said had been watching her for a couple of weeks when he broke into her house. He said when he broke into her flat he laid her on the floor. He said he held her on the floor then stabbed her in her side."

She said Shirley became angry, arguing with himself, and added: "He treated me like Mary. I firmly believe he was talking to Mary."

She said Shirley told her he had left a 2p piece and an "ornamental knife" on Mary's body.

The woman said Shirley raped and sexually assaulted her on her own kitchen table.

She added: "He kept saying he wanted to make me smell as sweet as Mary. I kept thinking 'Oh my God, I'm not going to be picking up my children today'."

The court heard that the ordeal came to an end when, by chance, the woman's son visited the house.

Prosecutor Rosaleen Collins said Shirley, who had a catalogue of youth offences, including burglary, to his name, was "re-enacting that which had taken place 22 years ago".

Ms Collins told the jury that, back in 1987, Cardiff Crown Court heard Mrs Wainwright's flat was ransacked and there were "ritualistic elements" surrounding her murder.

Shirley had indeed placed a 2p piece on his victim's abdomen, as well as a bent knife, and clothing was wrapped around her blood-soaked body.

Outside court, Shirley's victim, supported by family, declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Parole Board said a review committee "will consider and identify what lessons can be learnt from this case in order to help prevent further such incidents".

The case comes in the same week a teenager was jailed for raping a five-year-old just eight days after being spared custody for a similar sex assault.

The leniency of the original sentence handed down to the 16-year-old prompted a legal challenge but he attacked again before it could reach court.

This week he was told he would be released only when he is no longer considered a danger to the public.

Following Shirley's conviction, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Mr Shirley alone is responsible for his actions. Unfortunately risk can never be eliminated entirely but we are determined to have the best possible systems in place to supervise offenders in the community and protect the public."

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