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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Masked woman jailed for murder
The mask and knives used by Stephenson-Snell
Stephenson-Snell's mask was like the one used in the film Scream
A woman who shot a man at point-blank range while dressed in a ghost mask has been jailed for life.

Angry her ex-lover was with another woman, Heather Stephenson-Snell went to confront his new girlfriend but killed a neighbour instead.

Bob Wilkie, 43, was shot after he complained about the noise outside his house in Greater Manchester.

At Manchester Crown Court Stephenson-Snell, 46, of Crombie Avenue, York, was told she will serve at least 22 years.

The psychotherapist was also convicted of the attempted murder of her ex-boyfriend's new lover.

Heather Stephenson-Snell
"The plans you made were breathtaking"
Mr Justice Waverley
She was convicted of murdering Mr Wilkie after shooting him in the stomach as he tried to pull the mask off her face outside his house on Holland Street, in Radcliffe.

Her intended target Diane Lomax - who was with her ex-lover Adrian Sinclair - had refused to open her front door after seeing the Stephenson-Snell, from Crombie Avenue, York, through the spy hole.

The defendant had a sawn-off shotgun concealed under a sheet she was wearing as a cape, and after firing it at Mr Wilkie, she jumped into a car and drove off.

Police officers in West Yorkshire later stopped her, only because they saw her driving very slowly along the M62 motorway.

In an earlier hearing Charles Chruszcz, prosecuting, told Stephenson-Snell: "You were in a quite homicidal frame of mind and you had gone there to use that gun.

Murder victim Robert Wilkie
Mr Wilkie died after being shot in the stomach
"You always intended that the gun was going to be discharged and Mr Wilkie just got in the way."

On Tuesday, Mr Justice Waverley said Stephenson-Snell suffered from a personality disorder and had planned to frame Mr Sinclair.

He described her as a self-dramatist who had an exaggerated expression of emotions and was always seeking to be the centre of attention.

"The plans you made were breathtaking. You planned your escape meticulously," he said.

Officers found the shotgun hidden in her car and a knife was discovered in the waistband of her clothes.

Police said Stephenson-Snell met her ex-boyfriend when he replied to an advertisement she had placed in a magazine in 2002 asking for a dog sitter.

The pair began a relationship that lasted for a short while before he moved to the Radcliffe area of Manchester where he met someone else.

Prior to the shooting Stephenson-Snell alleged to Greater Manchester Police that the her ex-boyfriend and his new lover were involved in criminal activity.

She also claimed he had threatened to kill her.




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