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HomeAustraliaShoe fetish killer who brutally murdered mother, 51, is denied parole

Shoe fetish killer who brutally murdered mother, 51, is denied parole


A killer with a shoe fetish who murdered a mother at random has been paroled and told he has “outstanding treatment needs” that must be addressed before he can be released.

Christopher Farrow, then 33, tied up receptionist Wendy Speakes, 51, up with a pair of stockings, forced her to wear blue mule shoes before raping and stabbing her to death.

The discovery of Mrs Speakes’ body at her home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on March 15, 1994, sparked a six-year manhunt for the sadistic Farrow.

Farrow was finally caught after advances in fingerprint technology enabled a comparison to be made with the partial print found at the murder scene.

He was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years in November 2000 and two previous appeals for parole were rejected.

Shoe fetish killer Christopher Farrow (pictured) tied up receptionist Wendy Speakes with a pair of stockings before brutally murdering her

However, in 2018, Farrow was transferred to an open prison in preparation for his release by probation officers.

He was subsequently returned to closed conditions, although no reasons are given for this decision.

The Parole Board announced today (6/8) that it has rejected both Farrow’s appeal to be released on a license and his bid to be moved back to an open prison.

It had initially scheduled a conditional hearing for November last year, but it was postponed to allow the Secretary of State to provide additional information.

A second hearing was also called off and the decision was finally made based on Farrow’s prison records.

In a written summary, seen by MailOnline, the three-person panel stated: ‘At this stage, no major report writer can support Mr Farrow’s release on parole.

“It had been determined that he had outstanding treatment needs and these needed to be addressed through further interventions.

“The panel examined Mr. Farrow’s probation officer’s release plan and weighed its proposals against the assessed risks.

“The panel concluded that this plan should be reassessed after addressing Mr. Farrow’s outstanding treatment needs.”

The parole board listed Farrow’s gruesome past: “At the time of his offense, these risk factors included Mr. Farrow’s sexual interests, his attitude toward women, and problems in his relationships.

“He had thought about sex a lot and believed he could have sex whenever and wherever he wanted. Mr. Farrow also had trouble dealing with extreme emotions.”

Wendy Speakes, 51, (pictured) was forced to wear a pair of blue mule boots before being killed by Christopher Farrow

Wendy Speakes, 51, (pictured) was forced to wear a pair of blue mule boots before being killed by Christopher Farrow

It said Farrow, now 61, had ‘undertaken accredited programs to deal with sex crimes’ but added: ‘He had had the benefit of a period in open conditions but had been returned to the closed prison complex by authorities.

“Since then, there were no more concerns about Mr. Farrow’s detention behavior. He had worked one-on-one with a prison psychologist.”

It concluded: ‘Having considered the circumstances of his crime, the progress made in his custody and the other evidence presented in the file, the panel was not convinced that Mr. Farrow was fit for release.

“The panel also did not recommend that the Secretary of State transfer Mr. Farrow to an open prison.”

The crime horrified the nation when it was revealed that Farrow tied receptionist Wendy up with a pair of stockings, forced her to wear blue mule boots before raping her and then stabbing her to death.

The discovery of Mrs. Speakes’ body at her home sparked a six-year police operation to find her killer.

Farrow was finally caught when advances in fingerprint technology allowed a comparison to be made with the partial print found at the murder scene.

He was sentenced to life in Leeds Crown Court in November 2000 after pleading guilty to the murder and rape. Following the decision to move Farrow from a closed to an open prison in 2018, Tracey Speakes, the victim’s daughter, spoke out about her fears.

Tracey, then 54, said she remains convinced that Farrow still poses a serious threat to women and will strike again if he gets his freedom.

She said, “I think he’s a dangerous, dangerous man. “People need to be reminded of what he did. Especially people in Leeds and Wakefield if he moves there.

“Why should he be entitled to freedom after what he has done? “He has shown no remorse – from committing this crime in 1994 to the day he is released. “He never said sorry.”

1686234859 87 Shoe fetish killer who brutally murdered mother 51 is denied

Christopher Farrow, now 61, has been denied parole and told he has ‘excellent treatment needs’

The move to an open prison came after a parole hearing at Hull Prison in July 2018. Tracey also had the harrowing experience of reading a victim impact statement at Farrow’s hearing.

She described the years of anguish and fear Farrow’s shockingly brutal actions had on her and her family.

Tracey said she was also upset with the Parole Board hearing process, which involved her having to drive from her home in Essex to Hull Prison to read her statement.

She said, ‘The whole thing is a mess. Everything is aimed at the perpetrator. “I’d like to say this to the Justice Department – you need to find out!”

She told members of the Parole Board panel, “The local community would live in fear if he were released. “A pair of Mother’s shoes was never found, and I believe he hid them to this day as a trophy for his next victim.

“The pain of living with the injustice of the life sentence that doesn’t mean life when he took my mother’s life without thinking about it would be impossible for me to live with.

“I’m sure the feelings of anxiety and panic attacks would escalate. “Looking over my shoulder knowing he was no longer in prison would impact the life I’ve built since 1994.”

At his trial, the court learned that Farrow was lured into Wendy’s home an hour after he failed to get into that of a 24-year-old woman he had been stalking for several days.

Farrow, a printer, made Mrs. Speakes take off her slippers and put on a pair of blue shoes he’d found in a closet downstairs.

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

Christopher Farrow stabbed Wendy Speakes (pictured) nine times in the back and shoulders and twice in the neck

Christopher Farrow stabbed Wendy Speakes (pictured) nine times in the back and shoulders and twice in the neck

Farrow, from Cookridge, placed a pair of her black stilettos on a bedside table before committing a sexual assault.

At the same time, he stabbed Mrs. Speakes, a divorced woman living 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 concerned when she failed to show up for work the next morning.

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

Tracey Speakes said: ‘When Mum died, six years elapsed between his discovery and conviction.

“I walked down the street and watched people wondering if they had killed Mom. It hits you all the time.

“A few times I had to go to the doctor to get antidepressants, but I had to try not to let them affect my work because I had a mortgage to pay.

“It was a relief when he was finally convicted because I thought ‘well that’s it now, he’s going to jail for a very long time’. But life doesn’t mean life to him.’

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

Once he was identified as the prime suspect, bloodstains found in the house were tested and found to have a one in 30 million chance that it belonged to someone other than Farrow.

Wendy Speakes' (left) daughter Tracey Speakes (right) said it was

Wendy Speakes’ (left) daughter Tracey Speakes (right) said it was “relief” when Christopher Farrow was finally convicted

Farrow pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of Mrs Speakes in Balne Lane, Wakefield.

He also admitted to attempting to break into another woman’s home, intending to rape her less than an hour earlier.

Robert Smith, QC, Prosecutor, said at the time: ‘The footwear such as the black shoe on the bedside table was intended to play a specific role for the purpose of sexual arousal, as were the stockings.’

Mr Smith added: ‘Farrow liked to look at shoes when he had sex.’

The prosecutor said Farrow told detectives, “I just saw her get off a bus when I got off another bus.

“I had… thought how worthless my life was. My sex life… was absolutely zero and I was very upset and angry with my girlfriend.

“I decided to hurt someone that day. I just wanted someone to suffer the way I felt.”

Mr Justice Morland advised Farrow to remain in custody for ‘very, very many years’.

Farrow has now served three parole hearings and has served another five years in prison over his minimum term “for the protection of the public.”

He can be paroled again in 2025.

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