Mother's dismay at killer's sentence

A DEVASTATED mother who watched her daughter die at the hands of her ex-husband has called for the return of the death penalty.

Richard Smith

A DEVASTATED mother yesterday said her daughter's killer should hang for the callous murder.

Maureen Baldwin spoke out after Suffolk man Terry Abbott was told he must serve a minimum of 16 years in jail for murdering his former wife, Lorraine Baldwin, in 2001.

Abbott, now 59, was convicted of murder in 2002 after a court heard how he poured petrol over the 42-year-old and set her alight.

Last night, Mrs Baldwin, 71, who witnessed the arson attack, said that she could never forgive her former son-in-law for the barbaric murder and called for the return of the death sentence.

Mrs Baldwin, from Ipswich, admitted she was full of hatred for Abbott and she spent every day and night mourning the loss of her daughter.

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“He got 16 years - that's not enough. They should have said life meant life if not hanging, that would have been the best option.

“He should have been hung, he would have been years ago. I was with her when she was attacked and, well, you just do not forget.

“It goes over and over in your mind. I have nightmares, I do not sleep very often and then not a lot so I come downstairs and put the telly on.

“My family feel the same as me, they are all upset, my sons especially.”

Mrs Baldwin, of Goldcrest Road, added: “I try to black out what happened but she was more than a daughter to me, she was a friend. If I did not have my hair right she would come and do it for me.”

She attended the Royal Courts of Justice sitting at Chelmsford on Friday with her sons, Glenn and Wayne Baldwin, and other members of the family.

Abbott was sentenced to life after the trial in 2002 but it was not until Friday that a ruling was made on the minimum jail tariff for Abbott, formerly of Speedwell Road, Ipswich.

Mrs Baldwin was so upset that she was unable to be in the courtroom when Mrs Justice Cox delivered her ruling.

Once Abbott has served 16 years in jail he will be freed if he can persuade the Parole Board he poses no serious public danger.

The ruling was two days before Mothering Sunday and Mrs Baldwin recalled how her daughter made her feel extra special on Mother's Day.

She looked at the picture of Lorraine and a vase of flowers by the front door and said: “She would have been the first in on the day with presents, hugs and kisses for me.

“Now I have to try and get on with my life, but it is devastating what has happened. I do not like people talking about what happened around me, I get upset too easily.”

Mrs Baldwin said she found gardening and doing puzzles therapeutic but she could find nothing that would heal her heartbreak.

Abbott attacked Lorraine in April 2001. The couple's 19-year marriage had ended in divorce in 1999 and he kept custody of the four children.

There was a reconciliation between them but in April when this broke down, Abbott set out in his car with a five-litre can of petrol. When he found his ex-wife at her aunt's home in Kestrel Road, Ipswich, he poured petrol over her coat and set light to her.

Although someone rolled her in the back garden to put out the flames, she suffered appalling burns and died on May 5, 2001.

Mrs Justice Cox said the trial judge had been entitled to describe the murder as a "determined planned attack".

The jury had rejected Abbott's claim that his ex-wife "sneered" at him before he doused her with the petrol. There was, she added, "no element of provocation" and no other mitigation.

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