WHEN secretary Wendy Speakes didn’t turn up for work her boss went to her home to check on her – and stumbled on a scene of horrific carnage.
The 51-year-old, from Wakefield, had been tied up, raped and stabbed 11 times by a sadistic killer with a sick shoe fetish, who made her put on a pair of charity shop mules before launching his brutal attack.
It was six years before Leeds printer Christopher Farrow was hunted down for the 1994 murder and jailed for 18 years.
Chillingly, he told police he had killed stranger Wendy because he’d had a row with his girlfriend, adding, “someone was going to get it that day”.
The murder of the much-loved mum-of-two features in this week’s episode of Murdertown, which airs on Crime+Investigation on Monday.
In an emotional interview, Wendy’s daughter Tracey Millington-Jones, tells The Sun she misses her mum every day.
And after campaigning to have Farrow's parole denied in 2018 and 2020, she says she'll fight to keep the killer behind bars "until my dying day".
"He'd be 60 if he comes out now," she says. "He could meet someone, marry go abroad, probably have 40 years as a free man.
"My mum couldn't do any of that. She was dead at 51, she never saw her granddaughter, who's 25. She missed out on watching my daughter grow up, having days out and sharing experiences with her.
"He took all that away from us."
FORCED TO WEAR HEELS
Wendy Speakes, who lived alone in her terraced house in Wakefield, was a creature of habit – going to work and returning at the same time every day, working shifts at a pub and waitressing at the weekend for extra cash.
Tracey, who moved down to Essex after meeting her first husband in 1992, rang her mum every day, without fail.
“She was kind, loving – the best mum in the world,” she says. “I could talk to her about anything. Mum, my younger sister Leah and I called ourselves the Three Musketeers because we always tackled everything together.
“She didn't earn a lot but we always got looked after. She would give me her last piece of bread and go hungry herself. I don't think anyone could be more loved than my mum.”
On the night of March 14, 1994, Wendy came home from work looking forward to a night in front of the telly.
“She’d get home, she’d lock her doors and then she was safe, in her happy place," says Tracey. "She was just a quiet, happy, hard-working lady.”
But having just got home on this evening, there was a knock on the door and a witness saw her talking to a man on the doorstep, already in her slippers.
Pushing her inside the house, Christopher Farrow produced a knife and forced Wendy to put on a pair of blue heels he had bought at a charity shop before marching her to the bedroom.
He used stockings, bought that day in a local shop, to tie her hands and gagged her, before brutally raping her and stabbing her to death.
Farrow placed a pair of her black stiletto shoes on a bedside table before carrying out a sexual attack and stole a pair of Wendy’s shoes from a cupboard under the stairs as a trophy.
'I KNEW SHE HAD GONE'
The following day, Wendy’s boss rang Tracey to say she hadn’t turned up for work.
“I instantly knew something was wrong because Mum was very loyal and hardworking, not the sort of lady to skive off, and if she was unwell she would have called me,” she says.
Throughout the morning, an increasingly worried Tracey called the house over and over again, but got no answer. When she finally got an answer it was a man’s voice.
“My first thought was that he was a doctor, and she’d fallen down the stairs or been taken ill,” she says.
“But then he told me he was a Detective Inspector and I just dropped the phone and screamed the whole office down.”
Still unaware of her mum’s death, she got her husband to call back to ask what was happening.
“During the conversation the officer referred to Mum as ‘deceased’," she says. “My husband dropped the phone and started crying, and that’s when I knew she had gone.
“We then had a horrific four-hour drive to Yorkshire. We stopped at services on the way, I walked into the ladies and I just remember hearing this scream. I didn't know who was screaming and then I realised it was me.”
After going to the house, which was taped off, Tracey and her sister were taken to the police station and told their mum had been murdered.
“The neighbour next door never heard a scream,” says Tracey.
"My mum was a strong woman and I think she would have gone into survival mode, and complied with him rather than fighting, because he had a knife to her throat. So she's probably thought 'rape me and go'.
“She didn't know that he was going to kill her because if she did, she would have fought for her life and she didn't.
“But I was told that the first stab wound would have rendered her unconscious, so she would have known she wouldn't have felt any pain after that.
“Also he killed her when she was facing down on the bed, so at least she didn't die looking at his horrible face, which is a comfort to me.”
The family spent the next three months in a safe house as cops searched for the killer, who left behind a fingerprint on the inside door handle, his own blood and plenty of DNA samples at the scene
But it would take six years – and a fluke arrest – before he was caught.
“It was hell,” says Tracey. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering if it was someone I know, even someone I worked with who had seen a picture of mum on my desk and taken a fancy to her.
“Every other murder that happened in that time – like Rachel Nickell and Jill Dando – they had to rule out a connection and you're wondering, ‘is this it?’ Have they got him?’”
KILLER 'HAD BAD DAY'
It was a boast about drink-driving, in a pub at Bradford in 1996, that would lead to Farrow’s eventual arrest.
A police officer heard his brag and arrested him, and he was convicted, meaning his DNA, fingerprints and blood type were added to the police database.
Despite monthly checks on the evidence, it was four years later, in 2000, when Farrow’s name came out as the top match.
Arrested at the house he shared with his pregnant partner and her kids, he denied the murder but, faced wth overwhelming forensic evidence, he finally confessed telling officers he had “bad day” which drove him to search for a victim.
He also revealed he killed Wendy “as an afterthought”, having walked out of the bedroom to leave he then realised she would be able to identify him.
His chilling statement was: “I’m a rapist who killed, I’m not a murderer who raped.”
I’m a rapist who killed, I’m not a murderer who raped
As the investigation advanced, other women came forward to tell of sinister encounters with Farrow, including a 24-year-old known as Woman A, who said he knocked on her door and asked to use her phone after stalking her, but she slammed the door in his face.
Another, Melanie Jayne, was targetted two weeks after Wendy’s murder – with Farrow knocking on her door and saying he was lost, needed to speak to his father and asking to use her phone. She took fright when she saw his feet edging towards her, and slammed the door.
Because of this pattern of behaviour, Tracey believes her mum may not be the only victim.
“You don't just wake up and go murder someone, you build up to that, so I’m convinced he's committed a lot of offences,” she says.
“In those days, DNA technology wasn't great and the police have not been able to tie him to other attacks, but he was on the doorstep of a lady two weeks after he murdered Mum, so you can't tell me in the six years that he was free, he didn't murder or rape again. “
Farrow was sentenced to 18 years for the rape, sexual assault and murder of Wendy and four years for the attempted burglary of Woman A, in November.
But as the sentences ran concurrently, Farrow was up for parole in 2018.
“The police said to me at the time of his sentencing that he'll never come out because he is so evil and I was reassured by that,” she says.
“For 18 years, I thought I was fine. I lived my life, I got married, had my baby, I was really happy. I lived life knowing that mum would want me too, so I wasn't going to let it eat me up.
“The only time I've had wobbles and needed help, counselling and support was when the parole board hearing came round, and the possibility he was going to be freed.”
Tracey got a criminal profiler involved, who analysed letters Farrow wrote to his daughter from jail and concluded the killer had difficulty acknowledging his victim and had not moved on, meaning the same tension and attitude to women would still be there.
She also got the police to open lines of investigation into other possible crimes, in the hope that new cases would be brought against him.
“I believe he is a multiple offender and my worry is that he's going to do it again, as soon as he's out," she says.
"This man went out with a murder kit and he took a murder trophy, a pair of my mum's shoes.
"He's never ever said sorry, he's never shown any remorse.
“I’ll keep fighting for his release until my dying day because I know that when they do let him out he will kill again.
“Then it'll be someone else who has to go through all I've gone through.”
Tracey believes Farrow would have got a tougher term if he was being sentenced today.
"If he was caught today, he'd get life without parole, like Sarah Everard's murderer Wayne Couzens," she says.
“Life without parole, when it's premeditated first degree murder, is what all killers should get in this country."
Farrow's parole will be reviewed every two years and Tracey says the constant fight means she can’t grieve properly for her mum and find closure.
“I made a decision very early on that the way that I was going to cope with this was to fight for justice for my mum,” she says. “That's what kept me going.
“I hold that emotion down but If they ring me and tell me is dying or is dead, it will all come out because it’s there all the time.
"You have to learn to live with it and learn to cope because if you don't, then he's killed me too, he's ruined my life, and I refuse to let that happen.”
Murdertown airs on Monday, at 9pm, on Crime+Investigation
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