Rapist-murderer set to die in jail

Kenneth Mark Shirley has been handed another 16 life prison sentences on top of the seven he is already serving

Kenneth Mark Shirley has been handed another 16 life prison sentences on top of the seven he is already serving

First published in National News © by

A convicted murderer and rapist has been told by a judge he will probably die in prison after being convicted of another knifepoint sex attack.

Mr Justice Astill handed Kenneth Mark Shirley another 16 life sentences on top of the seven he is already serving.

Shirley, 42, was found guilty of four rapes, 12 assaults by penetration and a single charge of wounding by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. The judge told Shirley, who is known by his middle name, he would serve a minimum term of 16 years imprisonment but would probably never be released.

The judge said: "Kenneth Mark Shirley, you must appreciate that the nature of these offences, and the murder and rape convictions that went before them, may well result - and probably should result - in you remaining in custody for the remainder of your life."

The judge said details of this offence and Shirley's previous convictions meant the Sentencing Council guidelines should be exceeded.

Shirley tied the woman to her bed, gagged her and repeatedly degraded her with a knife and other objects during a 12-hour assault. The woman was left so traumatised by the attack in December 2005 that she did not tell police until last year.

Shirley is already serving six life sentences imposed for the near-identical sex attack on Bristol woman Helen Stockford in 2009. She gave up her anonymity in 2009, when he was convicted of raping her. He was only free walking the streets because he had been released on licence from prison in 2003 after serving 16 years of a life sentence for the ritualistic murder of Mary Wainwright, 67, in Cardiff in 1987.

Nicola Merrick, for Shirley, offered no personal mitigation on his behalf but added: "He is still a relative young man and reality is that he is very unlikely to be released and if he is released he will be of a very advanced age."

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court took around six hours to find Shirley unanimously guilty of four charges of rape, 12 of assault by penetration and a single allegation of wounding, which took place between December 7 and 12, 2005.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, sat in the upstairs public gallery of court room two to see the verdicts returned. Sitting just a few feet away was Mrs Stockford, who has been present in the public gallery for the whole trial.

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