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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 19:05 GMT
Heather killer's sex crime past
Flowers at the spot where Heather was found
Well-wishers filled the murder scene with flowers
The cross-dressing loner convicted of murdering teenage dancer Heather Tell, from Staffordshire, had a 30-year history of sex crimes.

Michael Chidgey, 46, from Tamworth, was not on the sex offenders' register when he murdered Heather, 17, with a shoelace.

Her body was found on parkland near the town, on 25 August.

Heather, a student at Sutton Coldfield College of Performing Arts, had been due to meet a friend when she was killed.

Heather Tell, 17, at home
Heather was studying dance

Flanked by friends and police outside Stafford Crown Court, Heather's father Peter said the last year had been "hell".

"It's been painful. Try to think of something every hour of every day.

"Try it for a week and you won't be able to do it.

"We haven't totally found peace. Heather was so special."

Harsher sentence

The court was told that Chidgey had 10 convictions for indecent exposure and had served two years of a four-year term for attempted rape.

Her mother Karen said: "If he had got harsher sentences for previous convictions maybe Heather would still be here today."

Mrs Tell added that she would be writing to the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne, supporting her campaign to let communities know of sex offenders in their area.

Kettlebrook Linear Park where Heather was murdered
Her body was found in parkland
Criminologist Dr Tony Colombo, from the University of Warwick, said the case highlighted the need for psychiatric intervention at an early stage.

"Chidgey's pattern of behaviour fits the general profile of a sexual offender who has basically slipped through the net and has not received any psychiatric help with regard to his sexual deviance.

"Over time what has happened is that his own perceptions of his sexual problems have simply progressed through minor sexual offences, through attempted rape, to murder.

"It is a fairly clear pattern."

Chidgey had denied murder, claiming that DNA found on Heather's body must have been transferred to the garment after he visited a high street store to feel underwear in the lingerie department.

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See also:

13 Dec 01 | England
Man jailed for Heather murder
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