Sussex

Flesh-eating Hastings killer jailed for 21 years

Graham Fisher
Image caption Graham Fisher confessed to his crimes while a patient at Broadmoor

A Broadmoor patient who confessed to killing two women in East Sussex in 1998 and eating flesh from one of them has been jailed for at least 21 years.

Graham Fisher, 37, admitted the manslaughter of Clare Letchford and Beryl O'Connor in Hastings, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He also admitted trying to murder and rape a Czech student on a train and raping a London woman in her home.

Lewes Crown Court heard he confessed because he knew he remained a danger.

The bodies of Ms Letchford, 40, and widow Ms O'Connor, 75, were found strangled and burned in their Hastings flats less than 100 yards apart in January 1998.

'Sexually sadistic'

Fisher, of Bromley, south-east London, said he cut flesh from Ms Letchford's arm and ate it.

Prosecutor Richard Barton said both women were lonely former neighbours of Fisher.

Fisher's attack on the 19-year-old student happened in the same month in a toilet cubicle on board a Hastings to London Charing Cross service.

Another vulnerable woman in her early 40s was raped by Fisher at her home in Bromley in 1991.

Prosecutors said Fisher targeted lonely women, some of whom he knew, to satisfy what one psychiatrist described as a "sexually sadistic" aspect to his personality.

Fisher confessed to his crimes in 2008 while at the high-security hospital in Berkshire.

Image caption The victims were found eight days apart in their neighbouring homes

He was part-way through serving a five-year jail term for indecently assaulting two Spanish students at knifepoint in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in May 1998.

He was transferred to Broadmoor under the Mental Health Act following concerns that he was a "grave danger".

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Mr Justice Keith said Fisher's detention in hospital would be subject to progress of his treatment.

But he added that it could be decades before Fisher was released back into the community.

The judge said that it had been "to his credit" that he decided while he was at Broadmoor "to get these terrible crimes off his chest, because he was concerned that he was too dangerous at that stage to be transferred from Broadmoor to a less secure hospital but also because he wanted to remain at Broadmoor".

Det Ch Insp Trevor Bowles, of Sussex Police's major crime branch, said the investigation had been "long and complex".

"The six offences to which Fisher pleaded guilty demonstrate the extreme danger he poses to the public.

"His offences have wrecked the lives of many individuals and families," he said.

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