Whole life term for convicted sex offender who raped and strangled nurse

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A convicted sex offender who raped and strangled a nurse before setting fire to her house has been given a whole life sentence.

Leroy Campbell, 56, was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting the murder of Lisa Skidmore, arson with intent to endanger life and the attempted murder of his victim's mother.

The court heard Campbell, of Forest Road, Moseley, Birmingham, hid a set of step-ladders near Ms Skidmore's home in Bilston, Wolverhampton, before killing the 37-year-old last November.

In a statement issued after the sentencing, West Midlands Police said Campbell had been released from prison just four months earlier, having been incarcerated for 17 years for burglary and indecent assault.

Detectives believe Campbell planned the brutal attack at least three days previously, when he stole the step-ladder from a nearby property.

On the morning the murder, a CCTV camera captured a dark figure carrying the ladders and then using them to climb up to the first-floor bedroom window.

Some two hours later, Lisa's mother called to check on her daughter, who was off work sick at the time, and, as she entered the kitchen, Campbell attacked her.

Neighbours then became aware of smoke coming from the property and fire crews managed to rescue Lisa's 80-year-old mother.

Commenting on the inquiry, Detective Inspector Harry Harrison said: "Campbell had sought to cover his tracks by setting fire to the property and even tried to confuse the investigation by leaving a lager can and cigarette butts in the sink bearing a third party's DNA.

"But he did not remove all trace of his own DNA from the property and he handed himself in at a police station three days later."

In a statement issued through police, the victim's family said: "The tragic death of Lisa has not only devastated the whole family but also her friends and work colleagues.

"Lisa was one of those rare people who made a difference in the community, first by being a nurse and even more so when she became a district nurse.

"For 19 years, Lisa devoted her life to caring for other people, tending to their needs in their last hours, but no one was there for Lisa in her last hours.

"We couldn't tell you how many people Lisa nursed, helped and cared for during her time as a nurse or lives that she saved, but all were treated with dignity and respect.

"Lisa was one of the most caring, kind and honest people you could meet who also had a sensitive side and would not have hurt anyone.

"To be taken in such a cruel way is lasting pain that the family will have to endure."

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne said: "This horrendous crime has had a devastating impact on the many people who knew Lisa, her family, friends and work colleagues and those who lived near her.

"I hope they can get some comfort from the fact that Campbell will never be set free again."