A jealous and controlling man who used a hammer to smash his way into a residential property and kill a woman in front of her child has today, Friday, 10 April 2015 been jailed for more than 26 years.
Lloyd Byfield, 49 (23.03.66) of no fixed abode murdered Leighann Duffy in her living room in Walthamstow using a hammer and a knife to inflict blows in an unprovoked and senseless attack. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to 26 and a half years’ imprisonment.
He pleaded guilty to her murder on Tuesday 17 March 2015 at the same court.
The court heard how police were called at 15:05hrs on Monday, 1 September 2014, to reports of a woman stabbed at a residential property in Hatherley Road, E17.
Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and found Leighann Duffy suffering from stab wounds to her arm and neck.
She was taken by London Air Ambulance to an east London hospital where she subsequently died on 3 September 2014.
A post-mortem examination took place at Walthamstow Mortuary on 4 September and gave cause of death as a stab wound to the neck.
A six-year-old child at the address received treatment at the scene for an assault related injury and did not attend hospital.
The two weapons used by Byfield in this attack, a claw hammer and a large red handled kitchen knife as well as a home made sheaf used to conceal the blade were all recovered at the scene by attending detectives who quickly linked him to the attack.
Byfield was arrested on 17 September 2014 in Walthamstow High Street, E17 after stopping a passing PCSO and admitting he was wanted by police. Prior to his subsequent arrest, Byfield told the PCSO that “the devil came into his head” during the attack and that “there was no point in hiding” from police.
Despite this apparent confession, Byfield did his best to thwart investigators, answering no comment to all questions posed.
Forensic evidence at the scene, phone records and witness accounts however, provided overwhelming evidence of his guilt.
DCI Glen Lloyd, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command led the investigation into Leighann Duffy’s murder. He said:
“This was a despicable attack on a woman at home with her 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.”
Statement from Ann Kerr – Leighann’s mother
“Leighann was a 26-year-old with a six-year-old daughter and was a happy and bubbly woman who had her whole life ahead of her. 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.”