A man who claimed ‘the devil came into his head’ has been sentenced to 26 and a half years at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to the murder of a woman from Walthamstow.
49 year old Lloyd Byfield forced his way into the home of 26 year old Leighann Duffy in Hatherley Road, Walthamstow on September 1st last year.
He was armed with a claw hammer and a knife.
He then used these to inflict injuries on the victim in front of a 6 year old child.
The victim’s mother has described what happened as a ‘unprovoked and senseless attack.’
The court heard how Byfield had pursued a relationship with his victim in the past.
Leighann died of her injuries in hospital two days after the attack.
Byfield was arrested just over two weeks later on September 17th, after he stopped a passing Police Community Support Officer and admitted he was wanted by police.
He said ‘the devil came into his head’ during the attack and that ‘there was no point in hiding’ from police.
The attack occurred at Ms Duffy’s home on Hatherley Road near Walthamstow Central station.
Byfield, a Jamaican national, had previously attacked another woman with a chisel and had been jailed for 30 weeks in 2005 for burglary.
Before he came to the UK, Byfield had been convicted of dealing cannabis in Jamaica but was allowed to stay in Britain after he married a woman in 2002.
These previous convictions have led people in the media and on social networking sites to ask why a violent criminal such as Byfield was allowed to remain in the country.
Judge Nicholas Cooke said Leighann’s murder could have been prevented if the authorities had deported Byfield after his earlier crimes:
You were to be deported but, for reasons that have never been explained to me, that was never actioned and you remained here able to kill an innocent woman.
DCI Glen Lloyd, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command led the investigation into Leighann Duffy’s murder, and said:
This was a despicable attack on a woman at home with a young child – a place where she was entitled to feel safe.
Byfield has shown callous and murderous intent by forcing his way in and then proceeding to inflict fatal injuries on Leighann Duffy in a pre-planned attack.
Byfield was motivated by jealously as he had previously wished to pursue a relationship with Duffy. I can only hope today’s sentence goes some small way to helping her family recover from what has been a horrendous ordeal.
Leighann’s mother Ann Kerr said:
On Monday, 1 September 2014 she was brutally taken from us in an unprovoked and senseless attack.
No sentence will ever make up for what he did and will never bring her back. However our family has finally got justice for Leighann which has caused months of grief.
We want to thank the police who worked day and night to catch Leighann’s killer. We also want to thank all of our friends and family who have supported us through this devastating time of our lives.