Boston stabbing: Stephen Sleaford found guilty of murder

Stephen Anthony Sleaford
Image caption Stephen Sleaford had previously been jailed for shooting a man

A 38-year-old man has been jailed for life for murdering a stranger who sexually assaulted a young woman walking alone.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Stephen Sleaford stabbed Janusz Smoderek, 48, five times in the chest, before boasting "We've dealt with it".

Sleaford, of no fixed address, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 23 years on Thursday.

Mr Smoderek died in a garden off Sleaford Road, Boston on 11 September.

Sleaford was was found guilty of murder by a jury with an 11-1 majority verdict.

The court heard he intervened after seeing Mr Smoderek grab the teenager's breasts.

The prosecution said he tried to play the "hero" and produced a lock knife, stabbing Smoderek to death as "punishment".

But passing sentence, Judge Michael Heath said the girl had been "rescued and was in no danger" when Sleaford carried out the attack.

The 18-year-old girl remembered Sleaford swearing and saying: "Oh my God, I've killed him."

She also recalled Sleaford telling her: "We've dealt with it," and "It will only be 15 years in prison".

The jury was told Sleaford had previously been jailed for 11 years for an offence of grievous bodily harm with intent after forcing his way into a house and twice shooting a man he had previously threatened.

He also has a number of convictions for less serious offences.

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