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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Macabre death of elderly widow
Murder victim Mabel Leyshon
When detectives announced the discovery of Mabel Leyshon's body, the case was described it as the "most callous and brutal" murder they had encountered.

Her corpse was found when a meals-on-wheels volunteer visited the 90-year-old widow's house in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey at lunchtime on Sunday 25 November 2001.

She noticed a broken window and decided to call the police.

Detectives decided early on that they were looking for a loner, who was probably local - no suspicious vehicles had been seen in the area - and might not be known to police.

But it was not until late December that details of ritualistic elements of the murder emerged and police began to piece together what happened.

Watching TV

Mathew Hardman struck on 24 November last year, when his widowed mother, a nurse, and her partner were away for the weekend.

Wearing gloves and carrying a knife from his kitchen, he walked the few hundred yards from his home to Mrs Leyshon's neat bungalow home - to which he used to deliver papers on his newspaper round.

She was sitting in her favourite armchair, her back to the sitting-room door, watching television with the sound turned up because of her growing deafness.

Mrs Leyshon did not hear a thing as six-foot-tall Hardman threw a slate through the bottom glass panel of the back door and bent down to ease himself into the kitchen.

He walked into the sitting-room and launched his ferocious, yet meticulously planned attack - stabbing her repeatedly with what was described at the time as a "bladed weapon".

Crossed pokers

He moved her body to another chair, placed two candlesticks near the corpse and balanced a candle on the mantelpiece.

Two pokers were set in a cross formation at her feet.

Hardman then removed Mrs Leyshon's heart from her body, wrapped it in newspaper, and placed it in a saucepan which he put on a silver platter.

He also made three gashes in Mrs Leyshon's leg and drained some of her blood into the same saucepan, from which he then drank.

After police suspicions fell on Hardman, they soon found forensic evidence proving his guilt.

His shoes matched footprints at the scene, and some of his DNA was mixed with blood on the windowsill from which he left the house.

They later found Mrs Leyshon's DNA on blood traces within the handle of a knife which was still in his pocket in his bedroom.

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02 Aug 02 | Wales
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