August 2011

Lag fools staff with a dummy

A CHILD murderer serving life in a top-security jail fooled officers by placing a dummy in his bed so he could sneak out to his lover’s cell.

Timothy Cuffy, 44, was found with another male Category A prisoner by staff who thought he was asleep in his own room.

It is understood he had spent up to 16 hours in the other man’s cell.

The trick, at West Yorkshire’s Wakefield Prison, echoed the tactics of three bank robbers who fled California’s Alcatraz jail in 1962 — inspiring Clint Eastwood’s hit film Escape From Alcatraz.

Cuffy was jailed in 2003 for murdering 13-year-old Sandy Hadfield by slitting her throat after she visited his home in Usher Green, Lincoln, looking for a friend.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “At morning unlock a prisoner at HMP Wakefield was found in another prisoner’s cell. The prison is investigating.”

November 2006

Schoolgirl’s killer changed name

A sex offender who stabbed a schoolgirl to death was not monitored after leaving prison because he changed his name, according to a report.

Timothy Cuffy, 39, plied 13-year-old Sandy Hadfield (pic below) with alcohol before taking her to a secluded park and cutting her throat with a Gurkha knife.

Cuffy had moved into the area a year before the killing in July 2002.

The independent report found he hid his criminal record from the authorities by using the surname Barnett.

Cuffy’s new partner and her three children were also unaware of his previous convictions, which included indecent assault on a minor.

The report looked into how the man came to be in Lincolnshire without any supervision after his early release from a six-year sentence for burglary and assault on a blind woman.

It followed a two-year investigation by the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board.

The report also found vital information about Cuffy was not shared between the Probation Service, the police and health authorities who all had contact with him prior to the killing.

Avril Price, who chaired the case review, said his criminal past should have been “communicated between every agency with which he came into contact”.

She said the case could be compared to the Soham inquiry into the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, where it was found that killer Ian Huntley – also a sex offender – was able to move county without being checked.

Cuffy had denied the killing, saying in interviews that he was cycling in the park when he found the girl’s body.

The investigation discovered he was a Schedule 1 offender following his conviction for indecently assaulting a girl under 16 in 1992.

Because of the date of his conviction, he was not listed on the sex offenders’ register allowing him, as he admitted to the investigative panel during interview, to “disappear”.

Despite this conviction, when Cuffy – who also has a long-documented history of mental illness – was released from jail in October 2000 his licence period had expired.

That meant he was not under any statutory supervision by the Probation Service.

He returned to his home town of Derby and registered with a GP who referred him to a psychiatrist.

The report found that despite his background and the fact that Cuffy told the psychiatrist he was a sex offender, no risk assessment was carried out and he was released back into the care of his GP.

When he moved to Lincolnshire under the name Barnett the information was not passed to the health authorities in the county and he was able to conceal his past.

His background also went unchecked – because of his identity change – during two encounters with Lincolnshire Police and during contact with social services in relation to his partner’s children.

Ms Price said that Cuffy, when interviewed by the panel, said that only his incarceration in jail could have prevented the murder.

Following the publication of the report, Sandy’s mother Jackie James-Clarke, 36, said she was “dumbfounded” that a sex offender was able to change his name and go unchecked.

She said: “A lack of communication was the key in this investigation. Let us hope that Sandy’s death will not be in vain.

“This man will continue to be a danger forever and I hope that he will never be released from prison.”

Cuffy was found guilty of murder in June 2003 and later ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

June 2003

Man jailed for ‘wicked’ murder

A man who stripped a schoolgirl and stabbed her to death in a park has been jailed for life for her murder.

Timothy Cuffy, 35, of Lincoln, plied 13-year-old Sandy Hadfield with alcohol before taking her to a secluded park and cutting her throat with a Gurkha knife.

The girl’s family and friends clapped and cheered loudly as Cuffy was sentenced on Thursday at Lincoln Crown Court.

The jury took less than three hours to find Cuffy guilty of murder after being told by the prosecution that he stabbed the teenager with a 12-inch knife.

‘Extremely dangerous’

Cuffy had denied killing the teenager, saying in interviews that he was cycling in the park when he found the girl’s body.

He said he dialled 999 as soon as he realised he had found a body.

Mr Justice Royce told him: “You have carried out the brutal and wicked killing of a 13-year-old girl.

“You have previous convictions for sexual assault and for violence.

“You are an extremely dangerous man and words are not adequate to describe you.

“There is only one sentence for you and that is imprisonment for life.”

Cuffy met Sandy when she called at his home looking for a school friend on 21 July 2002.

He invited her in and plied her with drink before taking her to Boultham Park in Lincoln.

Cuffy then stripped her naked and tried to have sex with her, slashing her neck with a knife.

The prosecution said Cuffy plied the teenager with drink until she was “literally legless” before taking her to a secluded spot and murdering her.

After the murder he returned to his home in Lincoln, only to go back to the scene on his bike and make a 999 call, claiming to have stumbled upon a body.

Timothy Spencer QC, prosecuting, told the court: “It was a particularly gruesome killing.

“Precisely why he took a life may be simple wickedness. Sex and death were clearly part of it.”

Outside court Chief Inspector Graham White said: “I am pleased with today’s verdict.

“There has never been any doubt in my mind that Cuffy was the killer.

“He took Sandy, he plied her with drink, he sexually assaulted her and then he went on to brutally murder her, just for the sake of keeping her quiet and in a callous attempt to save himself.