Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Facebook killer Peter Chapman 'should not see daylight'

Gemma Hughes
Miss Hughes was texting Ashleigh minutes before she was murdered

A friend of teenager Ashleigh Hall, who was murdered by serial sex offender Peter Chapman, has said she hopes he will "never see daylight again".

Chapman has been jailed for life for raping and murdering the 17-year-old in a field in County Durham.

He posed as a handsome teenage boy called "Peter Cartwright" on the social-networking site Facebook to groom the Darlington College childcare student.

Ashleigh's friend, Gemma Hughes, who chatted on social networking sites with her friend, said she was aware of Ashleigh's interest in the teenage boy, who they both believed to be "Peter Cartwright".

Miss Hughes had been sending text messages to Ashleigh as she sat in the car with Peter Chapman, just before he raped and killed her and then dumped her body in a gully, close to Old Stockton Road near Sedgefield.

'Feel special'

She said her friend's behaviour was out of character.

She said: "When we found out she had met this man it just didn't seem like her at all, it wasn't like her at all. It was totally different to anything she had done.

Peter Chapman
Peter Chapman will serve a minimum of 35 years in jail

"He must have made her feel so special for her to go and meet him. Really, really special."

She said Ashleigh had shown her the photograph of the boy Peter Chapman led her to believe he was.

Miss Hughes said: "She showed me the photograph and he was good looking boy with his top off."

She added that "anyone" would have fallen for it.

She said the text message conversation she had had with Ashleigh just before she was murdered seemed "normal".

She added: "It didn't feel anything was wrong, it just felt normal. But they were really late replies."

'Never sleep'

After Chapman was jailed at Teesside Crown Court on Monday, it emerged police lost track of him when he left his home in Kirkby, Merseyside, 10 months before the murder.

The court had heard that since the age of 15, Chapman had been the subject of several sexual assault investigations, including being jailed for seven years in 1996 for raping two prostitutes at knifepoint

Speaking about Chapman, Miss Hughes, said: "I hope that he can never ever sleep, because of the fact that he has taken someone so special away from her family, from me, and all her other friends.

"She meant so much to everyone, nobody had a bad word to say about her. She was just amazing.

"She was amazing to everyone and I don't know how anyone could have hurt her like he has.

"And I hope he never ever sees daylight again."

Judge Peter Fox, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said Chapman would serve a minimum of 35 years in jail.

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