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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 22:42 GMT
Man found guilty of twin's murder
Anne Cook (right) and her twin sister
Anne Cook (right) and her twin sister used to walk the dog together
A man has been found guilty of stabbing to death an identical twin as she walked her dog in a park.

A jury at Reading Crown Court convicted 36-year-old Leon Amos from Watford, Hertfordshire, of murdering Anne Cook in May last year.

Mr Justice Garland sent the jury back out to consider charges against Amos's two brothers, who are accused of helping him evade police.

The judge adjourned sentencing of Amos, who remained impassive as the verdict was returned, to a later date.

The victim's father, Peter Cook, and his wife Margaret hugged each other in relief as the verdict was returned, but her twin sister Susan Cutler could not face attending the hearing.

Prowling in the park

The jury of six men and six women took four hours and five minutes to deliver their verdict after a 11-day trial.

They heard how Amos had been prowling in the park on the outskirts of Watford for hours "looking for a lone female on whom he could take out his desires".

The website designer had been terrified of walking her dog alone without her twin.

But when her sister moved away from the area, Miss Cook, 35, kept on walking her King Charles spaniel Elvy despite her fears.

She started carrying a small lock knife for protection in the park, known as Colne Valley Walk, which was near her home on the Meriden estate.

(He was) waiting for a completely random victim to come along to pounce on her with rape or murder in mind

Brian Escott-Cox QC, prosecuting

But her worst fears - described by the prosecution as like a "premonition" - came true on 9 May.

Amos had already been prowling bare-chested in the bushes for hours, briefly stalking another woman before seeing Miss Cook.

Brave fight

Brian Escott-Cox, QC, prosecuting, said: "She was stabbed to death by that man - a complete stranger lurking in that park with a large knife waiting for a completely random victim to come along to pounce on her with rape or murder in mind."

Miss Cook fought for her life.

She lashed at Amos with her dog lead, gave him a black eye and suffered gashes to the arm and hand fending off his blows.

But his plans for rape frustrated, he plunged a six-inch long kitchen knife into her chest and then fled.

Miss Cook's bloodstained body was found minutes later by a dog walker on the tree-lined footpath, with her dog standing over her.

The knife was later recovered from bushes on the motorway embankment.

Brothers charged

Forensic tests showed found it was stained with both Amos's and Miss Cook's blood.

Unemployed Amos went into hiding, allegedly helped by his brothers, Peter and Jerry.

But he was arrested nine days later in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, after a police surveillance operation.

Jerry Amos, 39, and Peter Amos, 44, both from Watford, face alternative charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and assisting an offender.

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