A pensioner dubbed the ‘Beast of Wombwell’ has been convicted of raping an 18-year-old just weeks before he raped and killed a teenager 46 years ago.
Peter Pickering, 80, has been locked up in psychiatric hospitals since 1972 for the manslaughter of schoolgirl Shirley Boldy, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Leeds Crown Court has heard how Shirley was just 14 when she was abducted, raped and killed by Pickering.
Now a woman, who is in her 60s, told a jury how she was raped by Pickering just a few weeks before Shirley’s killing.
Peter Pickering, 80 (left), dubbed the ‘Beast of Wombwell’, has been locked up in psychiatric hospitals since he raped and killed 14-year-old Shirley Boldy (right) in 1972
Giving evidence last week, she described how she was picked up by the defendant who later took her to a secluded spot where Pickering cut off her underwear with a knife.
The ‘Beast’ then handcuffed her, raped her, burned her breasts with cigarettes and told her she was going to be killed.
The woman told the jury: ‘I remain of the fervent belief that whether he has a mental illness or not the man is a monster and wherever he is now that’s the right place for him to be.’
The ‘Beast’ (left and right) handcuffed the then 18-year-old, raped her, burned her breasts with cigarettes and told her she was going to be killed
Police discovered a pair of handcuffs at a garage in Sheffield which Pickering had used for storage
Summing up the case for prosecution, Michelle Colborne QC, reminded the jury that the woman has ‘never told a soul’ about what happened to her until the police rang her in 2016.
She said had not even told her husband.
Pickering was caught when police were alerted by comments he made to doctors found in medical notes.
They also found a garage in Sheffield which Pickering had used for storage which contained a pair of handcuffs, believed to have been used in the attack on the woman, and sick fantasies written in exercise books.
One of the messages found said: ‘Sex is predominant in my mind, eclipsing all else. Maybe I will be a sex maniac proper. Rape, torture, kill.’
Sasha Wass, defending, told the jury she did not doubt that what happened to the woman in that van ‘must have been terrifying’ and that ‘she must have thought she was going to be killed’.
Boxes piled high in the storage unit used by the ‘Beast of Wombwell’
Ms Wass admitted: ‘Some of you may think Peter Pickering is a complete monster who deserves neither sympathy nor justice.’
She said the only question was her client’s mental state at the time of the incident and whether he believed the woman had consented as it was happening.
Pickering, who appeared in court via video link from Swindon Crown Court, in Wiltshire, denied rape and false imprisonment but was found guilty by the jury after two hours of deliberations.
He declined to give evidence in his defence during the trial.
The jury has been told that he was subjected to a hospital order without limit of time in 1972 for the manslaughter of Shirley Boldy by reason of diminished responsibility.
He has never been released and is currently being held at Thornford Park Hospital, in Berkshire.
The court heard he was also jailed between 1966 and early 1972 for a violent sexual assault.
On Tuesday, Pickering sat listening to the jury foreman wearing a beige raincoat and leaning forward on a walking stick.
The judge, Mr Justice Goss, told him he could not sentence him until he had new reports detailing his current mental condition.
He told him: ‘Be under no illusion.’
He adjourned the case to a date to be fixed.