A ‘sadistic’ sexual predator nicknamed the ‘Honey Monster’ by colleagues has been jailed for life for the murder of an escort – exactly 30 years after he was cleared of the killing.
David Smith, 67, was acquitted of the 1991 murder of Sarah Crump, 33, at a trial in 1993.
The lorry driver went on to commit an almost identical murder of another sex worker, 21-year-old Amanda Walker, for which he was convicted in 1999 and has now served 24 years of a life sentence.
After being convicted of Ms Walker’s murder, Ms Crump’s mother, Pat Rhodes, warned: “I said at the trial he would kill again.
“I truly believe Smith to be guilty of the murder of my daughter, Sarah.
While on remand awaiting trial for Ms Walker’s murder, Smith boasted to an inmate that he had “got away with it”.
Court of Appeal judges ordered Smith should be retried for Ms Crump’s murder after “new and compelling evidence” emerged.
He was retried after the centuries-old double jeopardy rule – which meant a defendant, once acquitted, could not be tried for the same crime – was scrapped.
The law change in 2005 has allowed prosecutors and police to bring offenders to justice if there is new and compelling evidence against them.
Smith – known to colleagues as “The Honey Monster” or “Lurch” due to his heavy build and 6ft 3in height – denied murder but was this week convicted by jurors at Inner London Crown Court.
On Friday, he was sentenced to life with a minimum 27 years behind bars – less the 479 days he spent on remand in the 1990s – meaning he will serve at least 25 years and 251 days in prison.
Smith previously raped a young mother at knifepoint in 1976 and falsely imprisoned another woman in a car around 10 years later, jurors heard.
He regularly played card games with Harold Shipman while serving time at HMP Wakefield, the 2005 inquest of the serial killer GP heard.
Passing sentence for Ms Crump’s murder on Friday, the judge, Mr Justice Bryan, said the “abhorrent murder” was both “sexual and sadistic in nature”.
“I have no doubt your pre-meditated and planned intention that night… was to kill and sexually mutilate an escort to satisfy your perverted and sadistic sexual desires,” he said.
Smith, branded a “habitual and dishonest liar”, had a “history of escalating sexual violence against women” since he was a teenager in the 1970s, the judge said.
The killing of Ms Crump was part of a “pattern of violence and sexual offending against, but not limited to, sex workers.”
Ms Crump’s family, including her two sisters, Joanne Platt and Suzanne Wright, together with Detective Inspector Jill McTigue, who led the initial murder investigation, were present in court for the hearing.
Mr Justice Bryan said he hoped the the sentence would give them “some closure”, telling Smith they would be “safe in the knowledge you have been brought to justice and are likely to spend the rest of your life in prison.”
A victim impact statement was read by Ms Platt on behalf of Ms Crump’s relatives including her parents, who have now died.
She was described as a “bubbly”, “popular” and a “trusting person” who “believed in the good of people”.
Ms Platt said: “I can’t adequately express the pain of knowing what my sister endured.
“My family will never come to terms with the brutal savagery of Sarah’s murder.
“Even after 32 years having to listen to the details of the attack against Sarah was excruciating.
“This was always so very important to pursue, to finally see justice for Sarah.
“We would like to remember Sarah for who she was to us – the sister with the most amazing smile, a funny, thoughtful aunt and the daughter who was one of the best three girls in the world.”
“No remorse whatsoever”
Wearing dark glasses with his head bowed, Smith showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.
Mitigating factors for Smith were “thin gruel indeed”, the judge said, adding: “You have shown no remorse whatsoever.”
Ms Crump led a double life, employed as a secretary in the chiropody department at Wimbledon Hospital in south west London while also working as an escort.
Victim turned to sex work to pay for fertility treatment
The former psychiatric nurse turned to sex work in a bid to fund fertility treatment and fulfil her “strong desire to become a mother”, said her family, who had no idea she was an escort.
Smith, who at the time was living with his parents in Hampton, south west London, visited his victim at her one-bedroom flat in Southall, west London, before murdering her and mutilating her body in the early hours of 29 August, 1991.
Her body was discovered in a shallow leafy grave near the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley in Surrey – a notorious spot for couples meeting to have sex – six weeks after she went missing in Paddington, west London.
DI McTigue conducted a “professional, rigorous and thorough investigation” but Smith was acquitted on the evidence available in 1993, the court heard.