How sick shoe fetish killer Christopher Farrow targeted Wakefield mum Wendy Speakes

The house on Balne Lane.
The house on Balne Lane.

Wendy Speakes was targeted by sadistic killer Christopher Farrow as she got off a bus and walked to her Wakefield home after work.

He managed to trick his way into the 51-year-old's home on Balne Lane just an hour after failing to get into the home of a 24-year-old woman it is believed he had stalked for days before.

Farrow made Mrs Speakes take off her slippers and wear a pair of blue mule shoes.

Farrow made Mrs Speakes take off her slippers and wear a pair of blue mule shoes.

He was only exposed as the killer six years later through advances in fingerprint technology.

Farrow, then a 33-year-old painter and decorator, made Mrs Speakes take off her slippers and wear a pair of blue mule shoes.

MORE: Battle to stop Wakefield shoe fetish killer walking free from prison

He forced her upstairs to her bedroom, where he gagged her and bound her hands with a pair of black stockings which he had bought that afternoon.

Wendy Speakes

Wendy Speakes

Farrow placed a pair of her black stilletto shoes on a bedside table before carrying out a sexual attack.

At the same time he stabbed Mrs Speakes, a divorcee who lived alone, nine times in the back and shoulders and twice in the neck.

Mrs Speakes was found at the foot of her bed in a pool of blood by two friends who became worried when she did not arrive for work the next morning.

The killer left a pair of black stockings tied in loops beside the bed and part of a candlewick bedspread which he used to gag her.

He forced her upstairs to her bedroom, where he gagged her and bound her hands with a pair of black stockings.

He forced her upstairs to her bedroom, where he gagged her and bound her hands with a pair of black stockings.

Farrow was arrested in March 2000 in connection with the murder after his fingerprints were matched to one found on the handle of Mrs Speakes's front door.

He had been obliged to give his fingerprints after being arrested for drink driving in June, 1996.

MORE: Daughter given hope in legal fight to keep mother's murderer locked up after victory to keep 'black cab rapist' John Worboys in prison

Advances in computer technology four years later allowed the comparison to be made to the partial print found at the murder scene.

Christopher Farrow

Christopher Farrow

Once he was identified as the main suspect, bloodstains found at the house were tested and showed there was a one in 30 million chance of it being from someone other than Farrow.

Farrow, of Cookridge, Leeds, was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court in November 2000.

He pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of Mrs Speakes in Balne Lane, Wakefield, on March 15, 1994.

Farrow also admitted the attempted burglary of another woman's house with intent to rape her less than an hour earlier.

Robert Smith, QC, prosecuting, said: "The footwear like the black shoe on the bedside table was intended to play some specific role for the purposes of sexual arousal as did the stockings."

Mr Smith added: "Farrow liked to look at shoes when he was having sex."

The prosecutor said that Farrow had told detectives: "I just saw her get off a bus as I was getting off another bus.

“I had been... thinking how crap my life was. My sex life... was absolute zero and I had a lot of upset and anger towards my girlfriend.

MORE: Detective who brought evil shoe fetish killer to justice fears he could kill again if released

“I decided to do something that day to someone. I just wanted someone to suffer the same way as I was feeling."

Mr Justice Morland ordered that Farrow must serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.

But the judge added that he would recommend Farrow remain in custody for "very, very many years."

Why sick shoe fetish killer Christopher Farrow could be moved to an open prison

Christopher Farrow’s Parole Board hearing was held at Hull Prison on July 19 last year after being referred to the Parole Board by Justice Secretary David Gauke.

At the hearing, the panel heard oral evidence from Mr Farrow's offender manager, offender supervisor and two psychologists.

Farrow also gave evidence to the panel.

He said he was not seeking immediate release at the current time as he knew that he would benefit from progressing through an open prison first.

The panel also heard a victim statement from Mrs Speakes’s daughter, Tracey.

Farrow refused to attend that part of the hearing.

A Parole Board panel summary states: “The panel took into account the safety of the victim's family when considering public safety, if Mr Farrow were allowed to take temporary leave within the community from open prison.”

In relation to Farrow’s future risk to the public, the summary states: “The panel listed risk factors associated with Mr Farrow including the premeditated nature of the offences, relationship difficulties, his lifestyle and associates, alcohol misuse, a lack of emotional well-being, problems with his thinking and behaviour and attitudes.

“Evidence was presented regarding successful completion of a range of accredited programmes to address offending behaviour and the demonstrated application of those skills while in custody.

“Witnesses discussed Mr Farrow's good behaviour whilst in prison and agreed that his core risk areas had been addressed during the sentence which had reduced his likelihood of further serious offending.

“The panel noted that there were still areas of the offence which Mr Farrow continued to either misrepresent, obfuscate or deny.

“The panel considered the release plan provided by the offender manager was not robust enough to manage Mr Farrow in the community and that he needed to progress through an open prison to help test him for future release and allow him more gradual exposure to being in the community whilst still having the constraints and supervision of being in prison.

“Witnesses were in a common agreement that this was a safe course of action to take.

“The panel was NOT SATISFIED that Farrow was suitable release but recommended he be transferred to an open prison.”

Farrow is now being held in an open prison and is eligible to apply for release again later this year.

Warboys case explained

Victims of serial sex attacker Worboys were successful in forcing the Parole Board to reconsider its decision to release him from prison in the face of a public outcry.

Worboys, who is now known as John Radford, was jailed in 2009 for assaults on 12 women in London.

In January 2018 the Parole Board said he would be freed after serving 10 years, but victims challenged the decision.

The High Court overturned the board's original ruling and sided with the legal challenge.

The Parole Board then changed its decision and ordered that Warboys must stay in prison.

Among reasons given for refusing the 61-year-old parole were his "sense of sexual entitlement" and a need to control women.

A summary of the reasons why the Parole Board refused to release Worboys included "risk factors" such as Worboys' "sexual preoccupation, a sense of sexual entitlement and a belief that rape is acceptable".

At his trial at Croydon Crown Court in 2009, jurors were told Worboys picked up his victims in London's West End.

The court heard Worboys claimed he had won the lottery or had won money at casinos and offered his victims a glass of celebratory champagne laced with sedatives.

Worboys was convicted of 19 offences including one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges.

As well as being ordered to serve at least eight years, Worboys was given an indeterminate sentence, meaning he could be kept in prison as for as long as he was deemed to remain a danger to the public.

Police believe Worboys may have carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults on women in London between 2002 and 2008.

Among the documents considered by the panel were a 1,255 page dossier on Worboys and personal statements from seven victims.

It concluded: "The panel was not satisfied that Mr Worboys was suitable for release or progression to the open estate."

The Parole Board said under current legislation Worboys will be eligible for a further review "within two years", but this would be at a date set by the Ministry of Justice.

The High Court judge said, when ruling in favour of two women who brought the challenge, that the Parole Board should have undertaken “further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending”.

Nick Hardwick, the chair of the Parole Board, was forced to resign after Justice Secretary David Gauke told him his position was untenable.