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4 January 2019, 13:49 | Updated: 4 January 2019, 13:53
A man who left a frail elderly woman for dead following a frenzied attack has been jailed indefinitely.
57 year old Stephen Leonard of St Michael’s Gate, Peterborough, brutally stabbed 60 year old Fay Mills leaving her with life changing injuries.
Leonard, who Mrs Mills thought of as a family friend, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but was found guilty on 6 December following a trial at Cambridge Crown Court.
He was also found guilty of common assault after wounding Mark Patchett, a neighbour who came to help Mrs Mills.
Mrs Mills, who suffers from dementia, asthma and has had a series of strokes, was alone at home when Leonard paid her a visit on Saturday, June 23, to check on her while her daughter was away.
The pair got into an argument about whether Leonard could borrow gardening equipment, during which Leonard claimed a “switch flicked in his head” and he began to attack Mrs Mills in an attempt to stop her shouting at him.
He only stopped his frenzied attack when Mr Patchett and his wife came to check on Mrs Mills after hearing her screams.
When Leonard answered the door he was described as covered in blood and when Mr Patchett requested to see Mrs Mills he lunged at him with the knife. Mr Patchett and his wife went to call the police and Leonard left the property, leaving Mrs Mills for dead.
He was later arrested by police in the garden of his home after he had armed himself with a knife.
At the same court on Friday (4 January), Leonard was handed an indefinite life sentence and will not be eligible for parole within 17 years.
Even after this time period, he will have to be deemed not a risk to the public before being released.
Detective Inspector Lucy Thomson said: “When officers arrived at Mrs Mills’ home they believed she was dead due to the substantial injuries she had sustained.
“She was a frail and vulnerable woman who was attacked at home by someone she considered a friend and her life has changed irreparably due to her extensive injuries.
“I am pleased Leonard was found guilty of the offences and the prison sentence reflects the horror and brutality of this crime.”