Leeds & West Yorkshire

Raymond Kay jailed over Bradford woman's 1994 murder

Amy Shepherd Image copyright Family handout
Image caption The court heard that Amy Shepherd was stabbed and strangled at her home in Bradford in 1994

A man has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years for the "brutal" murder of an 86-year-old woman who was strangled and sexually assaulted almost 25 years ago.

Amy Shepherd was found dead in her flat at Wibsey, Bradford, West Yorkshire in August 1994.

Raymond Kay, 70, had denied murder but was convicted at Bradford Crown Court earlier.

New DNA testing had led to Kay's arrest at his home in Baker Fold, Halifax, in January last year.

The Honourable Mrs Justice O'Farrell sentenced Kay to life with a minimum term of 17 years.

It was "almost inevitable that you will die in prison", the judge said.

Work to deliver "meals on wheels" had enabled Kay to identify Miss Shepherd, who lived in sheltered accommodation, as a vulnerable lady from whom he could steal, she said.

Ms Shepherd would have recognised Kay as a trusted person and would have let him into her flat, she added.

Kay had been questioned by police in 1996 because a community service order led to him delivering meals to her accommodation in Folly Hall Gardens, the court heard.

Ms Shepherd was one of two elderly women murdered within a fortnight in 1994.

Richard Whelan, the killer of the other victim, Mary Kilbride, went on trial in 2000 accused of murdering Ms Shepherd and was found not guilty.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said Ms Shepherd suffered "terrible wounds" inflicted by her killer with a knife found at the scene.

The wounds were delivered in "a brutal assault during which she had been beaten, strangled with a ligature, and then had her throat cut," said Mr Wright.

An item of jewellery could have been the motive for the killing "with the sexual assault as some sort of afterthought", he said.

'Terrible crime'

Mr Wright explained forensic scientists had developed new techniques over the intervening 25 years that were applied to items from the murder scene.

Kay's DNA profile had been found on samples from the victim's body and on a tea towel used as a ligature, he added.

Samantha Davidson, from the CPS, said: "In the quarter of a century since her murder, Kay must have thought he had got away with his terrible crime. But he has not.

"Advances in forensic science provided the scientific evidence needed to convince the jury of his guilt."

Ms Shepherd's family said she was a "lovely, harmless old lady" and not a day had gone by "since that fateful day when we have not thought about her".

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