Fetish murderer strangled Leeds mum in sex attack after convincing parole board he was safe to be released from jail

An 'exceptionally dangerous' killer with a fetish for tights carried out a sex attack on a mum weeks after convincing the Parole Board he was safe to be released from jail..

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:23 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:24 pm

Donald Sheridan forced the victim to put on a pair of tights and strangled her as she begged for her life during the attack near to Leeds city centre

Sheridan was given a life sentence in 1986 for the sexually-motivated murder of a 67-year-old woman in South Wales.

He was released from prison on licence in May this year after convincing a parole board panel that he was safe to be returned to the community.

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'Exceptionally dangerous': Donald Sheridan carried out sex attack weeks after convincing the parole board he was not dangerous

Sheridan carried out his latest attack after being released from prison and being housed in a probation hostel in Holbeck.

Leeds Crown Court heard Sheridan targeted the woman on June 2 this year as she walked home from the gym near to a disused railway bridge close to Armley Gyratory.

Sheridan had spent the day drinking rum and had been in an altercation with a sex worker earlier in the day.

The 55-year-old dragged the victim into bushes before strangling her as he demanded money.

The mum-of-two told Sheridan that she had children and said to him: "Don't kill me."

The woman described how Sheridan smelt strongly of alcohol and forced her to kiss him.

She was ordered to remove her leggings and underwear before being made to wear two pairs of tights Sheridan had brought with him..

Sheridan told the woman to perform a sex act on him but the attack ended when he was disturbed by people walking dogs nearby.

The woman was allowed to go as Sheridan said to her: "Can you please not tell anyone."

Sheridan was arrested that evening when he breached his curfew by returning drunk to the hostel at Holbeck House at 10.30pm.

The victim reported the incident to the police and a pair of tights containing Sheridan's DNA were recovered from the scene.

Michael Morley, prosecuting, said Sheridan went on to make a series of "concerning admissions."

The defendant told police that have might have raped or killed his victim.

The prosecutor said: "He said women in their 60s and 70s were more his type.

"He said if she (the victim) had been he would have raped and killed her."

Sheridan told police that he had been going into Leeds to identify "potential victims".

Sheridan admitted to following an elderly woman around the city centre and watching her all afternoon as she went to a betting office.

He also admitted to lying to the Parole Board at his hearing in order to be released.

Sheridan said he continued to have urges to harm people, both males and females.

Describing the attack on the woman he said: "I couldn't help myself."

The defendant went on to admit that he had had a fetish for elderly females and tights since he had seen a naked nun when he was in care as a child.

Sheridan said he had stolen the nun's tight and then wore them to bed.

The defendant said he had taken tights with him to his latest offence as they were a "comfort blanket".

On the day of the attack he had left his hostel in possession of a large amount of money in his wallet and spent the day drinking rum.

He approached a sex worker in the street and went with her to a commercial yard on Shafton Street, in Holbeck, after agreeing a price for sex.

Mr Morley said Sheridan became suspicious when the woman made a mobile phone call to others after she saw he was carrying a lot of cash.

Sheridan was then involved in a struggle with the woman and she scratched his eye during the incident.

A group of men then arrived at the scene and robbed him of his money.

Police were able to track Sheridan from CCTV footage from the area to near where he went on to attack the woman.

After he was arrested he attacked a female dock officer when he appeared before Leeds Magistrates Court.

Sheridan grabbed the officer by the neck as she was being returned to his cell and put his tongue in her mouth.

The officer was off work for three months after the incident as she was so traumatised.

Sheridan pleaded guilty to robbery, false imprisonment, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard Sheridan had been moved to a probation hostel for people who had been released from prison.

Mr Morley described the premises as a "psychologically informed planned environment" which worked with the NHS to treat people suffering from personality disorders.

Sheridan had previously been released from custody after a Parole Board hearing in 2001 but was later recalled to prison.

Sheridan murdered the pensioner in 1985 by kicking and punching her to death. She was found dead wearing only her underwear and tights.

Sheridan later admitted raping her after he was given the life sentence

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, gave Sheridan a life sentence for his latest offence and imposed a minimum term of five-and-a-half years.

But the judge told the court that it was likely that Sheridan would never be released from prison.

He said: "He is a man quite exceptional dangerousness.

"I can't see circumstances in which it will ever be safe to release him until he is so enfeebled by age that he is no longer able to pose a danger."

After the case, Detective Inspector Al Burns, of Leeds District CID, said: “Sheridan’s actions have shown him to be a very dangerous and predatory individual who clearly presents a serious risk to women.

“The victim that he attacked in Holbeck was put through an absolutely terrifying ordeal and was left traumatised by what he did, as was the female custody officer that he later assaulted at court.

“The offences he committed caused understandable concern in the community at the time, and we are very grateful to all those members of the public who provided information that assisted our enquiries.

“Sheridan was caught as a result of a detailed and comprehensive investigation by detectives supported by specialist forensic expertise.

“We hope the victims will be able to take some comfort from knowing that he has been brought to justice, and we hope the community will be reassured to know that he is now safely behind bars.”