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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Prayers for 'vampire' murder victim
Murder victim Mabel Leyshon
Villagers have said prayers for the elderly victim murdered in a macabre ritual by a vampire enthusiast.

Mathew Hardman, 17, has begun a life sentence after he was found guilty of the "savage" murder of Mabel Leyshon, 90, in her bungalow at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey.

Village rector Rev Robert Townsend said Mrs Leyshon was being foremost remembered in Sunday prayers.

Mathew Hardman
Hardman was fascinated with immortality
But also he called prayers for Hardman, in the hope he could come to admit his crime, and for his family in their heartbreak.

Hardman had denied stabbing Mrs Leyshon 22 times, removing her heart and drinking her blood at the quiet Welsh village in November 2001.

But he was found guilty at Mold Crown Court on Friday.

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.

As the jury returned a unanimous verdict and the judge ordered him to serve at least 12 years of a life sentence, Hardman, 17, wept in the dock and his mother shrieked and sobbed in the public gallery.

He had previously told her he had not committed the crime.

If he needed to compensate for anything, vampirism may have given him what he was looking for

Ian Stephen, psychologist
Hardman - who had lived just a few yards away from his victim and had been her paperboy - mutilated Mrs Leyshon's 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".

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

DNA found in blood at the murder scene matched that of blood found on a knife at Hardman's home.

 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:

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