Shoe fetish killer Christopher Farrow granted parole board hearing

EXCLUSIVE Shoe fetish killer who tied up mother, 51, with a pair of stockings before raping her and stabbing her to death could be free in months after being granted parole hearing

  • Christopher Farrow tied up Wendy Speakes and forced her to wear some shoes
  • He received a life sentence in November 2000 with a minimum term of 18 years
  • In 2018 Farrow was moved to an open prison ahead of his release from jail
  • Ms Speakes’ family are concerned that their mother’s killer could be released 

A shoe fetish killer who brutally murdered a mother after selecting her at random has been granted a parole hearing and could be freed by the new year.

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

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

He got a life sentence in November 2000 with a minimum term of 18-years and has had two previous parole appeals rejected.

However, in 2018 Farrow was moved to an open prison in preparation for release by parole chiefs.

Christopher Farrow tied receptionist Wendy Speakes, 51, up with a pair of stockings, forced her to wear blue mule shoes before raping and then stabbing her to death in March 1994

Wendy Speakes’ body was found at her home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and prompted a six-year manhunt to find her killer

Farrow, who was 39 when he was jailed in November 2000, was sentenced to a minimum term of 18 years. He has had two earlier parole hearings 

Ms Speakes’ daughter Tracey, pictured right, with her daughter Emmeline, left, is convinced Farrow is still a danger to the public and should not be released

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm the parole review of Christopher Farrow has been referred to the Parole Board by the Secretary of State for Justice and is following standard processes.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

‘A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

‘Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing.

‘Evidence from witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements may be given at the hearing.

‘It is standard for the prisoner and witnesses to be questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.’

The crime horrified the nation as it emerged Farrow, then 33, tied receptionist Wendy up with a pair of stockings, forced her to wear blue mule shoes before raping and then stabbing her to death.

The crime horrified the nation as it emerged Farrow, then 33, tied receptionist Wendy up with a pair of stockings, forced her to wear blue mule shoes before raping and then stabbing her to death

Despite repeated warnings about Farrow still being a danger, he has been referred for a third parole hearing that will probably be heard before Christmas. If successful, he will be released on licence early in the new year

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

The killer was finally caught after advances in fingerprint technology allowed a comparison to be made to the partial print found at the murder scene.

He was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court in November 2000 after pleading guilty to the murder and rape.

Despite repeated warnings about Farrow still being a danger, he has been referred for a third parole hearing that will probably be heard before Christmas.

If successful, he will be released on licence early in the new year.

After the decision to move Farrow from a closed to an open jail in 2018, Tracey Speakes, the victim’s daughter, spoke of her fears.

Tracey, then 54, said she remains convinced Farrow is still a serious danger to women and will strike again if granted his freedom.

She said: ‘I think he is a dangerous, dangerous man.

‘People need to be reminded of what he has done. Particularly people in Leeds and Wakefield if he is going to move back there.

‘Why should he have the right to freedom after what he has done?

‘He has shown no remorse – right from committing this offence in 1994 up until the day he is going to be released.

‘He has never said sorry.’

The move to an open jail took place after a parole hearing at Hull prison in July 2018.

Tracey also had to go through the harrowing experience of reading a victim statement at Farrow’s hearing.

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

Tracey said she was also angry at the Parole Board hearing process in which she had to drive from her home in Essex to Hull Prison to read her statement.

She said: ‘The whole thing is a shambles. It is all geared towards the offender.

‘I would say this to the justice system – you need to sort it out!’

She told members of the Parole Board panel: ‘The local community would be living in terror if he was released.

‘A pair of mum’s shoes were never found and to this day I believe he hid them as a trophy for his next victim.

‘The pain of living with the injustice of the life sentence not meaning life in prison when he took my mum’s life without a second thought would be impossible for me to live with.

‘I am sure that the feelings of dread and panic attacks would escalate.

‘Looking over my shoulder knowing he was no longer in prison would affect the life I have managed to build back up since 1994.’

At his trial, the court heard Farrow tricked his way into Wendy’s home an hour after failing to get into that of a 24-year-old woman he had stalked for several days.

Farrow, a printer, made Mrs Speakes take off her slippers and wear a pair of blue shoes which he had found in a cupboard downstairs.

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

Farrow, of Cookridge, placed a pair of her black stiletto shoes on a bedside table before carrying out a sexual attack.

At the same time, he stabbed Mrs Speakes, a divorcee who lived 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 worried when she did not arrive for work the next morning.

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

Tracey Speakes said: ‘Back when mum died there were six years between him being found and convicted.

‘I would walk down the street looking at people wondering if they had killed mum. It affects you all the time.

‘A few times I had to go to the doctors and get anti-depressants but I had to try to not let it affect my job because I had to 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 prison for a very long time’. But life does not mean life for him.

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

Advances in computer technology four years later allowed the comparison to be made to the partial print found at the murder scene.

Once he was identified as the main suspect, bloodstains found at the house were tested and showed there was a one in 30 million chance of it being from someone other than Farrow.

Farrow, of Cookridge, Leeds, was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of Mrs Speakes in Balne Lane, Wakefield, on March 15, 1994.

Farrow also admitted the attempted burglary of another woman’s house with intent to rape her less than an hour earlier.

Robert Smith, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The footwear like the black shoe on the bedside table was intended to play some specific role for the purposes of sexual arousal as did the stockings.’

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

The prosecutor said that Farrow had told detectives: ‘I just saw her get off a bus as I was getting off another bus.

‘I had been… thinking how crap my life was. My sex life… was absolute zero and I had a lot of upset and anger towards my girlfriend.

‘I decided to do something that day to someone. I just wanted someone to suffer the same way as I was feeling.’

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

The last Parole Board summary stated: ‘The panel noted that there were still areas of the offence which Mr Farrow continued to either misrepresent, obfuscate or deny.’

No date has yet been set to hear the 63-year-olds application for parole, but one is expected for December or earlier.

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