May 2008

Child Killer rapist must serve 35 years

When convicted rapist Michael Clark was freed from prison, he refused to return to his home town of Scunthorpe because he claimed to fear for his safety.

Instead he was housed in a community where no one knew of his past.

Less than a year later, he sexually assaulted and killed Zuzanna Zommer, a 14-year-old girl living two doors away.

Officials had tried to turn down the registered sex offender’s request to move 40 miles away to Leeds, but they were forced to back down after representations from the homeless charity Shelter.

A convicted rapist who murdered a 14-year-old girl in a frenzied attack at her home has been told he must serve at least 35 years in prison.

Michael Clark, 40, was given a life sentence at Sheffield Crown Court for the murder of Polish teenager Zuzanna Zommer in Leeds last October.

Clark attacked Zuzanna two months after her family arrived from Poland.

Her body was found by her parents at their home in Compton Row with her throat cut and skull fractured.

She had also been sexually assaulted.

The judge, Mr Justice King, told Clark he had considered imposing a so-called whole life tariff which would have meant him never having the possibility of being released.

But the judge said he had decided instead he must serve at least 35 years before he is considered for parole.

The judge said: “No words of mine could express the grief, distress and profound sense of loss caused by your actions to the Zommer family.

“These were truly wicked acts. You have shown no remorse.

“Your victim was particularly vulnerable. She was 14. Your attack was particularly brutal and frenzied.”

Jurors were told Clark, who was convicted of rape in 1991, had befriended the Zommer family when they moved into his street.

But not long afterwards, his behaviour began to worry Zuzanna’s father.

On the day she was killed, Zuzanna’s parents had gone out to find work in Leeds city centre, leaving her at home.

Solvent abuser Clark later told the police he had an alibi, insisting he was in a post office collecting benefits at the time of the murder, but officers disproved it.

After the hearing, Det Supt Bill Shackleton, from West Yorkshire Police, said, “The Zommer family had only been in England for a few weeks when Zuzanna was brutally murdered by Michael Clark.

“Clark has a history of violent sexual offences as was heard during the trial.

“He is without doubt an extremely dangerous sexual predator. The sentence he received today will ensure that he will no longer present a danger to the public.”