Qing Qing Rao (pictured) had been married for less than six months when she was brutally attacked as she walked home from work
A depraved thug could be facing life in jail for stabbing a City worker just yards from her home and leaving her in a persistent vegetative state.
Business analyst Qing Qing Rao, 30, had been married for less than six months when Barry Peacham attacked her as she walked home from work.
The weapons-obsessed Peacham, 26, plunged a knife into her head and then mutilated her before stealing her handbag, mobile phone and laptop computer.
Ms Rao, who is just 5ft 3in, was found lying unconscious by a path in Castle Green Park in Dagenham, east London, having suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
Since the attack on February 13, she has been in a persistent vegetative state and is considered ‘extremely unlikely’ ever to recover consciousness, jurors were told.
Peacham was found guilty of wounding with intent and robbery following a trial at the Old Bailey, but cleared of attempted murder.
Following his conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes, of Scotland Yard, said: ‘To me this is a crime of pure evil.
‘On that night he has effectively ended the life of a 30-year-old lady, who was on her way home from work, in the most brutal and vicious manner, stabbing her in the head, penetrating her brain.
‘Peacham is one of the most dangerous men I have ever dealt with in my police career, which spans over 28 years.
‘It is incredibly sad for a young woman who had a promising career and had been married less than six months. Tragically she was only two or three minutes from her home and her husband when Peacham struck.’
Peacham was found guilty of wounding with intent and robbery after a trial at the Old Bailey
Ms Rao’s husband, Ansgar Wenzel, said he would cherish his wife’s goodbye kiss that morning as they prepared to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a couple.
He said: ‘On the night of 13th February this year, while on the way back from work, my wife of less than six months, my partner for 10 years, my best friend, was brutally assaulted, robbed and stabbed several times a few metres from our home.
‘Since then, she has been in a coma from which she will never wake up from. She was cruelly taken away from me the day before Valentine’s Day, a few days before our 10-year anniversary, for nothing more than her handbag and its contents.’
Mr Wenzel described his wife as a ‘wonderful, warm-hearted and happy girl, always friendly and happy to help anyone who needed her help’.
Ansgar Wenzel described his wife as a ‘wonderful, warm-hearted and happy girl, always friendly and happy to help anyone who needed her help’
Having come from rural China in the 1980s, she grew up with hardships but excelled at school and got a place to study mathematics at Imperial College where they met.
He said: ‘I would not miss a single day of the almost 10 years we have shared; I will always remember how she smiled and turned her head laughing on the morning of 13th February when she left for work; the goodbye kiss is one I will always cherish.’
The court heard that Ms Rao, who worked in Finsbury Square in the City, was still wearing her Apple earphones when she was found gravely injured just minutes from home.
After attacking her, Peacham had gone back to his then-home in nearby Maplestead Road, where he was described as being out of breath, wearing gloves, with a rip in his jeans and walking with a limp.
The victim’s credit cards and John Lewis gift card were later recovered from a nearby drain, having been dropped there by Peacham in the aftermath of the brutal robbery.
Her glittery red iPhone case and Tommy Hilfiger purse were also found later and identified by her husband as belonging to his wife. However, her computer was never recovered.
Jurors were told that gardener Peacham had previous convictions dating back to 2008, when he was found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon in public.
In August of that year, police had been alerted to a man, later identified as Peacham, running at people with a knife at Goresbrook Swimming Pool before being restrained by relatives.
In May 2010, he was found guilty of robbery, assault with intent to rob, and having a 6in (15cm) kitchen knife in public following an incident the year before which began in the same park where Ms Rao was attacked.
Three young men picked out Peacham as the man who had punched one of them and held a knife against the throat of another before making off on a bicycle with one of their mobile phones.
Following the attack on Ms Rao, police searched a flat in Walthamstow, east London, where Peacham had been staying and found a short sword.
Peacham denied the charges against him and claimed someone else was responsible.
Following his conviction, he was remanded in custody until his sentencing on November 24.