Lisa Skidmore inquest: Nurse's killer 'had targeted lone women'
Written by The Newsroom on June 11, 2019
A convicted sex offender who raped and murdered a nurse months after being freed from jail had a history of targeting lone women in their homes, an inquest heard.
Leroy Campbell strangled Lisa Skidmore, 37, in Bilston in November 2016.
Probation officer Audrey Spence told the hearing Campbell, 57, had remarked weeks earlier about “feelings” brought on by “noticing open windows”.
She told an inquest jury she had notified police and her supervisor.
Giving evidence at the Black Country Coroner’s Court, Ms Spence said she believed Campbell had been referring to sex offending rather than burglary.
Sarah Hemingway, representing Ms Skidmore’s family, questioned Ms Spence about why she had not tried to get Campbell recalled to prison after that conversation.
“I can’t make a decision on recall on my own unless supported by information the police had,” she said.
But she told senior coroner Zafar Siddique and the jury “public protection was never off my mind”.
Ms Spence said guidance was to find “alternatives to recall”.
Campbell would be monitored by police, was put forward for further counselling and was to meet more frequently with probation staff, she said.
Campbell, of Moseley, was being supervised in the community after being in custody for 17 years.
He served eight years above his tariff after being previously turned down for release by the Parole Board, the court heard.
Ms Hemingway said his crimes had included attempting to strangle a nurse in 1983 and breaking into a home in 1992 where he “repeatedly raped” a woman.
“His modus operandi was to look for places to burgle and lone females to rape,” she said.
Ms Spence met Campbell on 17 October while his probation officer Laurence Watkins was on leave.
She found him “extremely tearful” and feeling isolated.
He was struggling financially, Ms Speance said, had recently moved to a less supported premises and missed his son and daughter who were away.
“He had a lot of support from his children and felt almost abandoned,” she said.
Campbell never directly said his “feelings” were about sex offending but he “stiffened” like a “fearful” cat when she asked him if that was what he meant, she said.
When they met two days later, Campbell said he “felt much better” and was using diaries to record his feelings as he had learnt.
Mr Watkins saw Campbell in November and said he felt his risk “had been addressed and stabilised”.
“I was devastated by the enormity of what he had done,” he said, after learning of Ms Skidmore’s murder.
The inquest continues.
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country