A 22-YEAR-OLD man will spend at least 16 years behind bars for murdering a Huddersfield prostitute.
But the reason why cannabis-smoking Shane Haynes stabbed 40-year-old Geraldine Brocklehurst – leaving her to bleed to death – are unclear.
Haynes had a kitchen knife with him when he left his home on Corby Street in Birkby late one night last October – and a short time later Geraldine was dying after he had stabbed her three times and slit her throat.
He admitted hitting out with the knife after he was approached by Geraldine and admitted murder on the grounds that he meant to inflict serious harm to her – not that he meant to kill her.
Haynes was told by Judge Stephen Gullick that he must spend at least 16 years in jail before he would be eligible for parole.
“This was a vicious attack with a kitchen knife on the street,’’ he told Haynes as he passed sentence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday afternoon.
“It may be the victim was working as a prostitute and almost certainly was, but your response was to stab her at least four times and the fourth wound transfixed her neck.
“It punctured her jugular vein which meant she bled to death within a matter of minutes. I accept this was a sudden outburst of violence by you, but the offence is aggravated by the fact that you were carrying a 20cms kitchen knife with you in a public place.
“The public is rightfully concerned about the number of young men who go around at night with a knife. I regard this as a serious aggravating feature in your case.’’
Haynes has been in custody since his arrest on the night of the crime which meant the tariff he has left to serve before he can apply for parole is 15 years and 219 days.
The full horror of Geraldine’s death was outlined by prosecution barrister Rodney Jameson who said Haynes had been drinking and smoking cannabis joints at home.
He had then gone out for a walk to “clear his head.’’
Haynes came across Geraldine and another prostitute in the red light area of Huddersfield close to Great Northern Street at 1.30am on October 4 last year.
Geraldine left her friend who was talking on a mobile phone and went to speak to Haynes as he walked towards the Great Northern Retail Park which is home to Homebase and Currys.
Then witness Andrew Nicholls heard a scream and turned to see what he thought was Haynes punching her four or five times.
She had suffered knife wounds to her chest, left shoulder and forearm – but it was the severe neck wound which claimed her life.
“Before her death the deceased remained conscious for some time,’’ said Mr Jameson. “She was able to walk from the scene of the assault back down the steps from the retail park onto Leeds Road where she was obviously trying to get back to her friend.’’
She collapsed and her friend phoned the emergency services.
In the harrowing call that followed Geraldine could be heard in the background saying “I’m dying, help me, I’m dying.’’
Police and paramedics quickly arrived, but Geraldine’s blood loss was terrible which meant they were not able to save her.
Haynes was found hiding in bushes nearby and had got rid of his sweater. It was found with the knife wrapped inside.
Defence barrister Michael Harrison, QC, said Haynes had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity in court.
He said the attack was not premeditated.
“In our submission this was a spontaneous attack by him,’’ said Mr Harrison. “He did not make any attempt to take Geraldine Brocklehurst to a remote and secret place. This was an area surrounded by CCTV cameras.’’
He revealed that Haynes had been caught on camera before and after the attack, but the cameras were not pointing in the right direction to film the murder.
Mr Harrison also said Haynes did not make much of an attempt to escape. He was in shrubs nearby even though the area has many alleyways, snickets and a canal.
“Anyone planning to escape could have done so,’’ said Mr Harrison. “There are a lot of odd features about this case which does not make it a premeditated killing.’’
The barrister said that before the murder Haynes had been drinking and had taken three wraps of cannabis. He was in a state about his relationship with his partner and access to his young son.
“But this does not explain why it was to cost Geraldine Brocklehurst her life,’’ said Mr Harrison.
l The case had reached its dramatic conclusion with the judge about to deliver his sentence to a silent court when the fire alarm went off and the court buildings were evacuated for 30 minutes.