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Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Published at 22:08 GMT 23:08 UK


'Extraordinarily dangerous' man jailed for life

The couple spent the night at The Centurion pub in Crookhorn

A man who beat and strangled his girlfriend to death after a New Year's Eve party and took photographs of her body has been jailed for life.

Richard Tait, 30, attacked 24-year-old Kerry Scott at her home in Crookhorn, near Portsmouth. After killing her he went on the run for two days before giving himself up in London.

Tait, who was born in New Zealand, had a conviction for rape which the jury were not aware of when they returned their guilty verdict.

Miss Scott's body was discovered on New Year's Day 1999 by her younger sister Lyndsey, 19, and a neighbour.

She was gagged with parcel tape and had suffered a fractured larynx, a ruptured liver and severe bruising to her face.

Verdict applauded

Friends and relatives of the dead woman cheered from the public gallery at Winchester Crown Court when the jury returned their unanimous verdict after six hours of deliberation.

Afterwards the court was told Tait had raped, throttled and stabbed another woman during two separate attacks in 1994.

He served four years in prison, and was on licence when he attacked Miss Scott, with whom he had been going out for four months. She knew about his conviction.

The judge, Mr Justice Alliott, told the defendant: "You look as if butter wouldn't melt in your mouth and you are highly plausible, but I regard you as an extraordinarily dangerous young man."

Just hours before the assault the couple had been at a New Year's Eve party in The Centurion pub in Crookhorn, where she worked.

Gruesome pictures

The court heard how a camera found in Tait's possession when he was arrested in London contained seven pictures of Miss Scott's dead body.

Tait told his trial Miss Scott had asked him to asphyxiate her during a sex game and said he struck out at her body when he was unable to revive her.

Tait showed no expression as he was led away to begin his sentence.

Outside court Detective Inspector Nigel Niven, of Hampshire police, said: "He is a very evil man and has been convicted of the ultimate crime.

"We are so relieved that he will never again be able to harm any member of the public."

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