Charles Falk prosecutes man with multiple previous convictions, raising questions of parole board policy

8 January 2019

Charles Falk recently secured the conviction of a man for a frenzied assault on his neighbour. In doing so, the case raised serious questions of the Parole Board as the defendant was revealed to have previous convictions for murder and arson and was living under a pseudonym. The case has attracted huge press attention, nationally and internationally due to the perceived failure of the parole board and the Judge’s remarks in his sentencing summary.

The defendant, Stephen Chafer, was 17 when he sexually assaulted and stabbed to death three-year-old Lorraine Holt in Derby. He was released in 2002, returned to prison in 2013 for arson - but then released again on licence in 2017. Now known as Stephen Leonard, the 57-year-old was convicted for attempting to murder his neighbour and assaulting another neighbour who came to her aid.

He received a life sentence with a minimum of 17 years. In his summing up Judge David Farrell QC stated 'The worrying aspect of this offence is, as with the previous murder, that you have attacked a particularly vulnerable person and the attack was with a knife with particular severity.' He also added that his sentencing remarks must go to the parole board who are to ‘take great care if they are ever to consider releasing him again’.

For more information and press reports, see below:

  1. BBC
  2. ITV
  3. Sky News
  4. Telegraph
  5. The Guardian
  6. Daily Mail
  7. The Sun
  8. News Australia