Mawsley murderer back behind bars after stabbing woman in robbery

Terry St John.
Terry St John.

A convicted murderer stabbed a woman in her car before robbing her in a case of mistaken identity.

Terry St John, once nicknamed Spiderman after scaling buildings to break into them, was on his way home to his house in Acre Close in Mawsley when he was cut up by another car on January 9.

He thought he saw the vehicle in a layby in Station Road in Brixworth at 12.50pm. But today (Wednesday) Northampton Crown Court heard it was not the same vehicle.

A 21-year-old woman was inside the car on her lunch break and was paying her rent on the phone when she saw St John, 53, approach her car in the mirror.

Prosecuting, Andrew Howarth said: “She thought little of it until the door of her car was opened.

“The defendant was gritting his teeth and punched her in the mouth.”

St John was on licence at the time of the incident having been jailed for life for murder in 1995.

Dubbed Spiderman he scaled a 200ft wall to break into a 20th storey London flat but was surprised by the homeowner. He then beat him to death with a claw hammer and was not released from prison until 2012.

The housing officer on the phone when he robbed the woman in Brixworth heard her screams and cry for help as St John took her handbag and ran away.

The victim drove around the corner and saw him cross a field with her bag before stopping a passing motorist.

Blood was coming from her mouth and she thought her tooth was wobby. She then saw a cheap flathead screwdriver in her lap and a hole in her neck.

Mr Howarth said: “She realised at that stage she had not only been punched but stabbed.”

The victim was taken to Northampton General Hospital with a 5mm wound to her neck but fortunately didn’t suffer major injuries.

St John, who has been convicted of 23 offences since 1982, made his way across the field and into the garden of a nearby home where he was caught on CCTV. When challenged he calmly said he was working in a field.

Shortly after he discarded of his jumper and gloves and went into the nearby church where he cried and told two women he “wanted peace”.

Police came and arrested him and tracked down the victim’s handbag after following his route across the field.

He offered no comment in interviews but was charged with robbery after being picked out in a video identity parade by the victim and a witness. He pleaded guilty last month on the first day of his trial.

Reading out a victim impact statement, Mr Howarth said: “She was formerly a chirpy and bubbly person but she is no longer.

“She rarely leaves the house and only goes out when in the presence of her partner.”

St John, a gambling addict, bowed his head in the dock as details of his crimes were read back to him as his partner sobbed in the public gallery.

Mitigating, Micaila Williams said it was a “one off” and that he had intended to remonstrate with the victim over being cut up.

She admitted he had behaved appallingly and said he was truly remorseful for his actions.

She said: “He has come a long way from where he was in 1995. It took a great deal of work to get his life back on track.”

Judge Rebecca Crane told St John he was dangerous as she jailed him for five years and four months. He was given an extended licence period of three years.

He must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence and will remain in prison until a parole board agrees his release.

Lead investigator Detective Constable Dan Hayes said: “The victim was on her lunch break and pulled up to take a phone call. The next thing she knew, a man was in her car with her.

“He used violence to threaten her, striking her in the neck with a screwdriver before running off with her handbag.

“St John is a dangerous man who caused his victim considerable distress, and this sentence rightfully reflects the damage that this incident has caused her.

“Everyone involved in this case has worked really hard and I’d like to thank everyone for the parts they have played in ensuring justice has been done.”