Detective who brought evil shoe fetish killer to justice fears he could kill again if released

The police detective who finally brought Christopher Farrow to justice for the rape and murder of Wendy Speake in Wakefield has said he believes the sadistic killer will pose a ‘significant risk’ to women if he is released from jail.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 11:10 am
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 12:48 pm
Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Johnston said there are many questions surrounding the case which Farrow still refuses to answer.

Paul Johnston, a retired Detective Chief Superintendent, said he has concerns over the Parole Board decision that would see the sick killer back in the community.

No explanation. No apology. No remorse.

The former West Yorkshire Police officer said there are many questions surrounding the case which Farrow still refuses to answer.

MURDERER: Christopher Farrow has shown no remorse.

He said: “There has been no explanation. No apology. No remorse.”

Mr Johnston described how the relief at bringing the murderer to justice after a six-year manhunt had always been tinged with frustration.

He said: "Although he pleaded guilty, no one ever got an explanation as to why he did what he had done that day.

Wendy Speakes was murdered by Farrow in her home 25 years ago.

"I have no explanation as to why he chose Wendy."

Describing the effect the death had on the local community, he said: "It is 25 years on and people still talk about the murder of Wendy Speakes.

"It was something that was talked about a heck of a lot, certainly in the first six or seven years during the time it took to catch Farrow.

"Even now, long after this dreadful event, people still remember the horrendous murder of Wendy Speakes."

How the shoe fetish killer was eventually caught

Recalling the moment he attended the crime scene at the house on Balne Lane, he said:

"It was the most horrific of crimes.

"That woman had gone through sheer hell in that house. That was perfectly clear from the outset.

"It had been a vicious attack, a violent attack, a callous attack.”

A six-year investigation saw detectives obtain thousands of DNA samples from men in a bid to catch the killer.

Wendy’s home was “dismantled” by forensics experts in a bid to recover every fingerprint from the property on the edge of Wakefield city centre.

Officers even looked into the bizarre world of shoe fetishists in the hunt for a suspect.

Farrow was eventually caught after he was arrested for drink driving and had his fingerprints taken.

A match was found with a print left on a door handle at the murder scene.


Recalling the moment he first met Farrow when he was brought in for questioning, Mr Johnston said: "I thought ‘what an insignificant little character you are’.

"He was nothing to look at. He was nothing special.

"You don't expect someone to have 'murderer' tattooed on their forehead.

"But you do expect them to have something significant about them.

"He was just Joe Public and that was his persona.

“There was not one person ever who said 'I can see him doing something like that'. “Absolutely not one single person.

"That is what makes him so dangerous in my view.”

Mr Johnston said he continued to have doubts over the Parole Board decision to prepare Farrow for release.

He explained: "I do not envy the Parole Board their task.

"I think it is a no-win situation a lot of the time.

"But decisions have to be based on risk - risk of the murderer re-offending in some way, shape of form.

"That risk is often judged by remorse that has been shown, by explanations as to why he did what he did.

"If I am right that there has been nothing of that nature from him over the last 18 years, I would have to ask what basis can someone say this is a changed man?

"Because he came from nowhere. There was no background - he was straight in to that type of offending.

"What's to say that it won't happen again?”

Serial killer fears

Police said at the time Farrow was locked up that he could have gone on to be a serial killer had he not been caught.

The former officer explained: "He was only caught because of a fingerprint. Had he not been breathalysed that day he might still be out there.

"If he was to come out and do such a thing again, he's not going to leave a fingerprint is he?

"He's not going to leave his DNA.

"I would like to hear someone from the Parole Board say 'we can guarantee that if he is released he will not do this again’.

"But I don’t know how they can reach that conclusion.

"I genuinely believe he poses a significant risk to women if he is released."