A man who violently murdered a lesbian woman will spend the rest of his life in prison

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London steelworker Michael Purcell was jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years. He has killed his flatmate when found out about her sexual orientation. After breaking into his flatmate’s room at their flat in Cricklewood, North London, Purcell stabbed her more than 48 times in the back, chest and genitals. The court heard that the body of Molina, who was a housekeeper, was found by her partner who was at the local takeaway when the crime had been committed and came back in a few minutes when Molina was already dead.

Judge Wendy Joseph QC, sentencing Purcell, said she believed that he inflicted the injuries on Molina’s genitals either because she was gay or because she was a woman. She said: “There has never been a clear account of what happened in the flat but I am satisfied there came a time where Ms Molina was under threat and either fled to her room or was already there and locked the door from the inside. When she was dead or dying he made a further attack with the knife in her genital area. It is impossible to interpret your decision to carry out this later attack as anything other than an attack made in reference to her sex or sexual orientation which you knew to be lesbian.” Purcell was found guilty last month, saying he couldn’t remember why he killed Molina, but that he was sorry. He described her as a “lovely lady”, and told police “I killed the woman next door, I just want to die”.

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