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EDITIONS
Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
'Vampire' killer jail term begins
Murder victim Mabel Leyshon
A teenager found guilty of the "savage murder" of a 90-year-old widow at her own home is beginning a life jail sentence.

Mathew Hardman should serve a minimum of 12 years under a recommendation from the judge at Mold Crown Court on Friday.

As the jury returned a unanimous verdict, Hardman, 17, wept in the dock and his mother shrieked and sobbed in the public gallery.

Mathew Hardman
Hardman was fascinated with immortality
Mabel Leyshon was stabbed to death at her home in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, in November 2001.

Hardman - who had lived just a few yards away and had been Mrs Leyshon's paperboy - mutilated her body before placing pokers at her feet in the shape of a cross.

Her heart had been removed, wrapped in newspaper and placed in a saucepan on a silver platter next to her body.

The prosecution said her killer drank her blood in a "macabre ritual".

'Occult obsession'

It was said the teenager was obsessed with vampires and the occult, and had told others he wanted to kill someone in order to become immortal.

The 14-day hearing was told how he smashed his way into Mrs Leyshon's bungalow where he was watching television.


If someone had ridiculed him, he may have needed to compensate for this - something like vampirism may have given him what he was looking for.

Ian Stephen, forensic psychologist
He denied stabbing her 22 times. But DNA found in blood at the murder scene matched that of blood found on a knife at Hardman's home.

After Hardman was found guilty, attention turned to his possible motive and to how he could have become fascinated by vampires, killing a pensioner in his quest for immortality.

Born and raised in Amlwch, on the north coast of Anglesey, he moved to Llanfairpwll in 1998, when he was 13 years old.

That same year, his father - who had been separated from his mother - died from a massive asthma attack.

Although his parents lived apart, Hardman had remained close to his father and was upset by the tragedy.

Violent tendency

Detective superintendent Alan Jones said: "We all found it difficult to accept it could be any sort of interest in vampirism.

"But we were able to prove Mathew had the interest in immortality and had these strange thoughts.

"What's going on in Mathew's head, only he will know."

The judge at Mold Crown Court said Hardman's radical, violent tendency was difficult to comprehend.

And Edinburgh-based forensic psychologist Ian Stephen, whom television drama Cracker was based on, said Hardman's developing obsessions would have been difficult to detect.

Vampire obsession

"So many teenagers become obsessed with parts of culture like this young man," he told the BBC.

"It's very difficult for parents to pick up these changes from normal interests to something that can become quite scary.

"There may have been issues in his background which may have forced him to go beyond the normal interest stage.

"The cult of vampirism is to do with power and dominance, using blood to give you energy and immortality.

"If someone had ridiculed him, he may have needed to compensate for this - something like vampirism may have given him what he was looking for."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Det Supt Alan Jones
"What's going on in Mathew Hardman's head, only he will know"
Tony Black, psychologist
"You could say he had delusion ideas"
Maldwyn Roberts
"People were not going out after the crime"
See also:

02 Aug 02 | Wales
17 Jul 02 | Wales
02 Aug 02 | Wales
02 Aug 02 | Wales
02 Aug 02 | Wales
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