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Wednesday, December 2, 1998 Published at 16:45 GMT


Life for sex stabbing murderer

A farm labourer has been jailed for life for murdering a woman while he was having sex with her on Christmas Day 1997.

Steven Ling, 24, was found guilty of stabbing Joanne Tulip, 29, approximately 60 times at his home in Stamfordham, Northumbria.

Sentencing Ling at Newcastle Crown Court, Mr Justice Potts said the sadistic nature of the crime would have to be brought to the attention of the home secretary in considering if he should ever be released.

"You inflicted appalling injuries on her while you were having sexual relations with her," the judge said.

"You will never be released so long as it is thought you constitute a danger to women."

A rape charge has been left on file.

Ling, who was 23 at the time of the murder, was apprehended by the police almost immediately after the crime.

He had fled the scene in his car, but had an accident in Gateshead.


He hailed a passing vehicle, which was occupied by two policemen who thought he had been drinking. He confessed to the murder shortly afterwards.

Prosecuting counsel Patrick Cosgrove QC said Ms Tulip, whom he described as "perfectly respectable", had met Ling in a pub after returning to Stamfordham to spend Christmas Eve with her father.

According to a statement made by Ling, he returned with her to her father's house before she accompanied him to his own house.

Ling's statement read: "I started kissing her, but she pushed me away so I hit her. We went upstairs and talked for a bit. I just stabbed her, I don't know why I did it."

He then claims to have gone downstairs to the kitchen to make coffee and picked up two knives before going back upstairs to have sex with Ms Tulip.

After stabbing her he used a duvet and a pillow to smother her.

A post mortem examination established that Ms Tulip died of stab wounds

"I was going to slit my wrists after that, but I couldn't do it," said Ling.

The officers who arrested Ling reported that he said: "Just take me straight to the police station. I want to tell you I have just killed a girl. I stabbed her while having sex. I'm going to jail for 25 years."

He then asked the policemen not to tell his mother and father.

Defence counsel Michael Harrison QC said Ling, who he described as a "perfectly ordinary person" before the murder, was remorseful and "devastated" by his crime.

Speaking after the verdict, the officer in charge of the investigation into Ms Tulip's murder, Superintendent David Hepworth, said: "Ling inflicted many more injuries on Joanne than were necessary to cause her death. His attack was sadistic and without provocation."

Ms Tulip's mother Doreen Soulsby said: "You can't imagine that something like this would happen in a sleepy village on Christmas Day."

Her father, John Tulip, said: "She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Christmas won't ever have good memories again."

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