Killer wins bid to get prison sentence cut

Leon Paige

Leon Paige

First published in Didcot

A MURDERER who killed a homeless teenager and dumped his body in a ditch 10 years ago has had his prison sentence cut.

Leon Paige, formerly of King Walk in Didcot, was convicted of repeatedly stabbing Richard Parker, 18, after he “grassed” a friend to police for shoplifting.

Paige was found guilty alongside Steven Knott, of Druids Walk, Didcot, in 2003, and both were sentenced to serve a minimum of 12 years behind bars.

The trial judge at Oxford Crown Court said they had shown “a total absence of human feeling” for their victim.

But Paige, now 26, has had his sentence cut to a minimum of 11 years after a High Court review, because of his good behaviour in prison.

He could now be freed in January 2014, but will only be released if the parole board is sure he no longer poses a risk to society.

Mr Justice Akenhead, delivering the ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday, said Paige’s progress in custody had been “exceptional and unforeseen”.

The court heard Paige had completed a range of courses and earned the praise of prison staff for “maturity and politeness”.

Mr Justice Akenhead also said Paige had expressed remorse for the crime.

He said: “Of course, while I am intensely sympathetic about the victim and his friends and family, and I am and remain wholly aware that this was a very serious crime, this review primarily concerns the offender and his development while in custody.”

He said he had received representations from Mr Parker’s loved ones “strongly opposing” any reduction in Paige’s jail tariff.

But, he said of Paige: “I can properly form the view that, compared with his position, character and maturity in 2002, he has made exceptional and what would have been unforeseeable progress.”

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Paige and Knott were both 16-year-old members of a shoplifting gang when they lured their victim into a car.

They faked a breakdown, then attacked him with a knife and bottles in a country lane near Reading in June 2002.

Paige inflicted nine stab wounds.

Mr Parker, who had learning difficulties, was described as “a gentle, simple, 18-year-old” who had spent much of his life in care.

His body was found in a ditch under a sleeping bag.

He had been sleeping rough but had lived in Crowmarsh Gifford, near Wallingford, and also in Banbury.

Knott had a challenge against his conviction dismissed by London’s Criminal Appeal Court in 2004.

He also failed in a bid to have his sentence cut on good behaviour grounds in 2010.

If released, Paige will remain on life licence and could be sent back to prison if he offends again.

Comments (7)

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10:16am Tue 7 Aug 12

jonny1976 says...

Life for a life. should stay behind bars for life.
Life for a life. should stay behind bars for life. jonny1976
  • Score: 4

10:37am Tue 7 Aug 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

Disgusting, take a life and you should be put away for life. Eleven years is nothing compared to what the victims families have to endure.
Bring American justice here where killers get a minimum of 25 years.
Disgusting, take a life and you should be put away for life. Eleven years is nothing compared to what the victims families have to endure. Bring American justice here where killers get a minimum of 25 years. Bartsimpson_uk
  • Score: -14

11:06am Tue 7 Aug 12

Lady Penelopee says...

"They faked a breakdown, then attacked him with a knife and bottles in a country lane near Reading in June 2002. "

So the murder was pre-meditated, and he stabbed him NINE times, yet he ONLY got 12 years!?! I think they should be extending the sentence if anything!

Once he's let out, then if he so much as puts a hair out of place, he should then spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"They faked a breakdown, then attacked him with a knife and bottles in a country lane near Reading in June 2002. " So the murder was pre-meditated, and he stabbed him NINE times, yet he ONLY got 12 years!?! I think they should be extending the sentence if anything! Once he's let out, then if he so much as puts a hair out of place, he should then spend the rest of his life behind bars. Lady Penelopee
  • Score: 2

11:10am Tue 7 Aug 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Perhaps if the people who loved him had just had a bit more sympathy with the poor chap and actually had him live with them then he would still be with us....
Perhaps if the people who loved him had just had a bit more sympathy with the poor chap and actually had him live with them then he would still be with us.... Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

11:42am Tue 7 Aug 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

You know nothing about the family or anything about bringing someone up with learning difficulties, so you are well out of order to put some of the blame on his family. Your are disgusting Palmerstone.
You know nothing about the family or anything about bringing someone up with learning difficulties, so you are well out of order to put some of the blame on his family. Your are disgusting Palmerstone. Bartsimpson_uk
  • Score: -16

6:49pm Tue 7 Aug 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Bartsimpson_uk wrote:
You know nothing about the family or anything about bringing someone up with learning difficulties, so you are well out of order to put some of the blame on his family. Your are disgusting Palmerstone.
You may well be right. My aunt ensured that my cousin with learning difficulties was left in a safe environment but what do I know, as you say? You have the monopoly of truth Bart, of course.
[quote][p][bold]Bartsimpson_uk[/bold] wrote: You know nothing about the family or anything about bringing someone up with learning difficulties, so you are well out of order to put some of the blame on his family. Your are disgusting Palmerstone.[/p][/quote]You may well be right. My aunt ensured that my cousin with learning difficulties was left in a safe environment but what do I know, as you say? You have the monopoly of truth Bart, of course. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Wed 8 Aug 12

devonexile says...

We live in an ever increasingly violent society, much of the increase is due to the soft nature of the justice system. The result is that many perpetrators of crime are not worried by the outcome of their actions, there is a lack of respect for the feelings of those directly affected by the crimes. If after release from prison such individuals go on to commit a violent crime they should be returned to prison and serve out their life sentence without future consideration for release.
We live in an ever increasingly violent society, much of the increase is due to the soft nature of the justice system. The result is that many perpetrators of crime are not worried by the outcome of their actions, there is a lack of respect for the feelings of those directly affected by the crimes. If after release from prison such individuals go on to commit a violent crime they should be returned to prison and serve out their life sentence without future consideration for release. devonexile
  • Score: 0

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