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'Sadistic sexual killer' jailed for murder 30 years after he was cleared of the crime

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A Jack-the-Ripper-style killer has been jailed for more than 25 years for the murder of a pregnant woman he was cleared of killing 30 years ago.

David Smith, 67, was acquitted of killing escort Sarah Crump, 33, in 1993 after a trial where her mother warned he would kill again.

Six years later, the lorry driver murdered another sex worker Amanda Walker, 21, for which he has served 24 years of a life sentence.

Mr Justice Bryan on Friday handed him a life sentence for the murder of Ms Crump with a minimum term of 27 years minus the 479 days he spent on remand in the 90s, meaning he will serve at least 25 years and 251 days.

Smith, wearing dark glasses with his head bowed, showed no emotion as he was branded a "sadistic sexual killer" and a "habitual and dishonest liar".

"I must sentence you for this abhorrent murder which was, I am sure, both sexual and sadistic in nature," the judge told him.

"I have no doubt your pre-meditated and planned intention that night… was to kill and sexually mutilate an escort to satisfy your perverted and sadistic sexual desires," he added.

In a statement read outside the court, Ms Crump's family thanked witnesses for coming forward "at great personal sacrifice".

They said: "At long last justice for our lovely Sarah. If only our mum and dad were here with us today to share this momentous occasion.

"After the disheartening acquittal at the Old Bailey in 1993, our mum said that David Smith would kill again. Eight years after Sarah's murder, he was found guilty of an even more savage murder and mutilation of a young woman and mother, which he later admitted.

"Thirty years may have passed but we still miss Sarah - she was a shining light in a murky world who wished for the best but found the worst of humanity."

Her older sister Joanne Platt said the family had no idea Ms Crump had been working for an escort agency, and believed it was because she wanted to fund fertility treatment because of her "strong desire to become a mother".

She added: "We would now like to remember Sarah for who she was to us - the sister with the most amazing smile, a funny, thoughtful aunt and the daughter who was one of the three best girls in the world" - the phrase now "tragically" on her headstone.

Sarah Crump's naked and mutilated body was found by police in her west London flat in the early hours of August 29, 1991 (PA)

Smith bragged he had "got away with it" after he was cleared of murdering Ms Crump, a chiropodist's secretary who made extra money working as an escort, in 1993.

The lorry driver had also carried out rape attacks on two other women and went on to kill Ms Walker in 1999.

An Old Baily judge found Smith guilty of Ms Walker's murder later that year but Ms Crump's family were left seeking justice for three painful decades until Court of Appeal judges ordered a retrial.

He was finally convicted of the crime after less than three hours of deliberation at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday.

Ms Crump's older sisters Ms Platt and Suzanne Wright attended court for the verdict as well as Jill McTigue, the detective who led the original murder investigation.

In a statement read outside the court, Ms Platt said: "Even after 32 years, having to listen to the details of the attack on Sarah was excruciatin."

She continued: "My family and I will never come to terms with the brutal savagery of Sarah's murder.

"This was always so very important to pursue, to finally see justice for Sarah."

David Smith was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 27 years for the murder of Ms Crump (Metropolitan Police)

The judge said he hoped the sentence would give the family "some closure", telling Smith they would be "safe in the knowledge you have been brought to justice and are likely to spend the rest of your life in prison".

He said the mitigating features were "thin gruel indeed," adding: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever."

During the Old Bailey trial in 1993, Ms Crump's mother Pat Rhodes warned that she believed Smith would kill again - which she tragically said again after the murder of Ms Walker.

Both victims were mutilated by Smith, who was known to colleagues as the "Honey Monster" or "Lurch" because of his 6ft 3in height and heavy build.

When he was permitted to walk free, he thanked the jury after his defence counsel accused police of incompetence and suppressing evidence.

Police emphatically denied the defence allegation and said they were not looking for anyone else.

Ms Crump's family had to wait three decades for justice (PA Media)

Smith killed Ms Crump at her west London flat in Southall in the early hours of August 29, 1991.

She was said to have lived a double life as an escort while working as a secretary in the chiropody department at Wimbledon Hospital, following a previous job as a psychiatric nurse.

Loner Smith, then 34 and living with his parents in Middlesex, had arranged to meet her at the one-bedroom flat during his week off work.

Her naked body was found "brutally mutilated" with marks similar to the surgical scars of a woman Smith had become "obsessed with" but "rejected his attentions".

In Smith's latest trial, jurors heard while on remand awaiting trial for Ms Walker's murder, he boasted to another inmate he had already faced trial for murder at the Old Bailey but had "walked".

"He said that they got no evidence on him and that he got away with it," the prisoner said.

His case was referred to the Court of Appeal and was sent for a fresh trial with "new and compelling evidence" following a change in the law on double jeopardy in 2003.

He denied a single charge of murder but failed to give evidence.

Lorry driver David Smith, pictured at a previous trial, was found guilty of Ms Crump's murder at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday (PA)

Prosecutor William Boyce KC told the jury how Ms Crump's murder was part of his "escalating pattern of violent and sexual offending against women" dating back to his teenage years in the 1970s.

He said Smith developed "fascinations and obsessions" with some of the women he paid for sex and had allegedly tried to rape an escort just 10 days before the killing - he was acquitted of attempted rape at the Old Bailey.

Jurors also heard that Smith raped a young mum at knifepoint in 1976 and falsely imprisoned an unknown woman in a car around 10 years later.

It was said he also regularly used sex workers and had visited Ms Crump's flat to pay for sex using a false name, "Duncan".

Amanda Walker, 21, whose partially-clothed body was found in woodland next to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens in Wisley, Surrey (PA)

Speaking after Friday's sentencing, DS Rebecca Reeves said: "Smith's sentencing today brings to a close a 32-year quest for justice for Sarah's family.

"I am delighted that Smith has finally been held to account for this heinous crime. He is a depraved man who will now more than likely spend the rest of his life behind bars."

Mr Boyce said the killing "bore a number of similarities" with the murder and mutilation of Ms Walker whose body was found in a shallow leafy grave near the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley in Surrey - a spot notorious for couples meeting to have sex - nearly six weeks after she disappeared.

Speaking after Ms Walker's murder trial, Ms Crump's mother said: "Nothing will bring Sarah back, we know that, but we feel there has been unfinished business while Smith has been free.

"I truly believe Smith to be guilty of the murder of my daughter Sarah. I said at the trial that he would kill again."

The 2005 inquest of Dr Harold Shipman heard how Smith had regularly played cards with the serial killer GP while serving his sentence at Wakefield Prison.

More follows on this breaking news story.....

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