With the ongoing international health crisis – and resulting lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic – you’d be forgiven for sometimes feeling that the world and everyday life has somehow been placed on pause.
Sadly, while that may be the case when it comes to reuniting with loved ones, planning a long-awaited summer holiday or training for a new career, it is not the case when it comes to crime.
Leicestershire Police and the courts have had to deal with some truly shocking and wicked acts of cruelty, deceit, sexual violence and murder in 2020.
It can often take years for criminals to face justice for their notorious acts.
The pain, devastation and loss left in their wake will continue, but in the following cases taken from LeicestershireLive‘s 2020 archive justice was fortunately at least swift.
Here is a selection of some of the most shocking crimes from the last year.
Each case is followed by a link to the original, full report.
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Would-be killer runs over girl, slashes the throat of boy and stabs mother and pensioner in random street attack
A violent criminal who tried to kill two children and two adults was convicted of attempting to murder them.
Carlos Racitalal was said to have carried out the unprovoked attacks in a “calculated and deliberate” manner with intent to kill.
The Leicester Crown Court jury of eight women and four men found him guilty on all counts unanimously, on the ninth day of the trial, in November.
The 33-year-old – formerly of Finsbury Road, Belgrave – was also convicted of three offences of possessing knives in public, relating to the three brutal stabbings in the Belgrave area of the city, which took place between January 2 and 18.
Racitalal was jailed for a minimum of 21 years and 259 days for his crimes.
Paedophile plied teenager with alcohol and drugs before raping her
A paedophile who raped a 13-year-old girl after meeting her in a park was sentenced to to 11 years in prison.
Deano Churchill-Richards appeared at Leicester Crown Court in November to to hear his fate, having been convicted on October 21 of two counts of rape relating to the girl.
The 40-year-old, of Wreford Crescent, in Thurnby Lodge, Leicester, took the girl to his home by taxi.
He plied her with alcohol and gave her a ‘psychoactive’ drug before raping her on April 20.
“When the victim tried to leave the flat, he tried to stop her but she was able to make good her escape,” Leicestershire Police said at the time of Churchill-Richards’ conviction.
Police had been contacted by a concerned member of the public who approached the girl in the street after her escape.
Churchill-Richards was arrested at his home. As well as the rape charges, he was convicted of supplying a psychoactive substance to the 13-year-old girl and another girl.
Man killed best friend’s dad in street skirmish
A 24-year-old man killed the father of his best friend during a skirmish in a city street.
The victim, Jentilal Deugi, died after an altercation with his son’s then friend Yashvant Pranlal on Sunday, May 31.
Pranlal pushed 50-year-old Mr Deugi to the ground, causing him to suffer a heart attack which cut off his supply of oxygen, resulting in a fatal brain injury.
Mr Deugi was tended to at the scene, in Redcar Road, Belgrave, Leicester, by a passing midwife and her husband, who is a retired nurse, and another member of the public.
Paramedics then took him to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where he died on Tuesday, June 2.
He was sentenced to four years and six months in prison at Leicester Crown Court (Friday, October 16).
Gang armed with machetes and baseball bat carry out revenge attack at town centre pub
Four men were jailed after they burst into a town centre pub armed with machetes, a metal pole and a baseball bat looking for revenge.
The gang stormed into the back of the Lord Nelson pub, in Earl Shilton, after earlier being involved in a fight with 10 people in the beer garden.
Shay McManus (31), of Grey Crescent, Newtown Linford; Kody Finnemore (32), of Montvale Gardens, off Anstey Lane, Leicester; Richard Henderson (31), of Pendlebury Drive, Knighton, Leicester, and Deacon Smith (25), of Evelyn Road, Braunstone, Leicester – appeared at Leicester Crown Court in October.
They all admitted their part in the incident on July 11, 2020.
They all pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an offensive weapon, one count of affray and two counts of wounding with intent.
McManus also pleaded guilty to burglary relating to the same incident.
Murderer brutally bludgeoned and stabbed a father-of-five to death following a drink and drugs binge
A murderer who brutally bludgeoned and stabbed a father-of-five to death following a drink and drugs binge was jailed for life for the heinous crime.
The victim, Stuart Morris, who was also a devoted granddad, died from multiple injuries at the Leicester home of his killer, Martin Green, in Heathcott Road, off Saffron Lane.
The men, both 50, were said to have been good friends.
The victim’s grown-up children wept in the public gallery at Leicester Crown Court in October as they heard that, after slaying their father with a metal pole and a kitchen knife, Green went on to savagely mutilate his dead body, by slashing his genitals to try and thwart the police investigation.
After the killing, the defendant duped two neighbours – claiming he locked himself out of his flat on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 14 – and borrowed a hammer to break into his home.
Once inside, he feigned horror at finding Mr Morris’ bloodstained body in the lounge – and continued to fake distress when the police arrived.
The court heard that Green was ‘off his head’ on brandy and crack cocaine when he savagely murdered a father-of-five who had only ever shown him kindness.
Wife feared for her life in violent attack by drunk university lecturer husband
A drunken university lecturer kicked and punched his terrified wife, causing a broken wrist and bruising to her limbs, body and face.
During the sustained attack at the former matrimonial home in Desford, the woman feared for her life and begged him to stop.
Ben Archer, a senior lecturer in communication arts at Leicester’s De Montfort University, has since resigned from his job.
The 58-year-old admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm upon his wife on Friday, August 7.
Archer knocked his wife off her chair, held her down and banged her head against the floor.
Domestic violence – where to go for help
Leicestershire Police – 101
United Against Violence and Abuse – 0808 802 0028
Leicester City Council – 0116 454 1008
The Bridge (Housing support for those who are aged 16-plus) – 01509 260500
The Jenkins Centre (Help for perpetrators) – 0116 2540101
Respect National Helpline (Support for male victims and advice to help perpetrators to change) – 0808 802 4040.
Women’s Aid Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
National Centre for Domestic Violence – 0800 970 2070
National Stalking Helpline – 0808 802 0300
Victim Support – 0808 168 9111
He repeatedly slapped her face, before punching her nose.
Abigail Joyce, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court in October that the couple were married in 2003 and had known each other since they were 15.
The judge said it was a ‘spectacular fall from grace’ for Ben Archer, who turned to booze ‘for solace’ during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Archer, of Wellington Street, Leicester city centre, was given a 20 month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay £1,500 costs
Thug beat up his girlfriend – four years after he was jailed for attack on previous partner
A thug with a history of violence was jailed for a sustained and brutal attack on his partner – the second such assault in less than five years.
Gary Lees assaulted his latest victim after she confronted him with what she believed to be evidence he was seeing someone behind her back – an accusation he denied.
She ran into the bathroom to get away from 48-year-old Lees as he grew increasingly threatening, a court heard.
But he followed and began punching and kicking her, leaving her with a fractured arm and leg as well as extensive bruising.
Lees appeared at Leicester Crown Court in December,where he was jailed for three years for assaulting the woman at her home in Leicestershire in the early hours of Wednesday, September 2.
He had pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing, along with offences of criminal damage and resisting the Leicestershire Police officers who were sent to detain him after neighbours heard the woman’s cries for help.
Prosecutor Neil Bannister told the court Lees was jailed for two years in 2016 for an assault on another woman he had been in a relationship with.
Rapist carried out ‘barbaric’ attack on a lone burglary victim
A callous rapist subjected a 65-year-old woman to a terrifying sex attack in her home.
Virgil Arhip was “dead drunk” and high on the drug Mamba, when he randomly broke into the victim’s home at night, pinned her down on her bed and beat her into submission.
The 28-year-old, of no fixed address, admitted rape and burglary in the Saffron Lane area of the city in the early hours of Sunday, July 19.
Sentencing him to 12 years in prison at Leicester Crown Court in December, Recorder Stuart Sprawson said the “frail” victim had found Arhip rifling through her dressing table looking for jewellery after he climbed through an upstairs window.
The recorder said that Arhip’s excessive violence left the ‘frail’ 65-year-old woman with injuries ‘from head to feet’.
When she challenged him, he spontaneously attacked her, ignoring her terrified screams for help. He then hit and bit her on the face, chest and neck.
Woman ‘fleeced’ kind Alzheimer’s pensioner out of thousands by feigning homelessness
A callous con artist befriended a recently-widowed pensioner with dementia to dupe him out of large sums of money.
Susan Geary mercilessly preyed on the lonely 72-year-old man, who regularly gifted her cash sums, totalling £45,000 over several months, because of “sob stories” about being homeless.
The defendant, of Sturdee Road, Eyres Monsell, Leicester, admitted six counts of theft and one of fraud, totalling £8,150, between March and July.
She was jailed for 22 months at Leicester Crown Court in September.
The court was told that Geary had sent text messages to her vulnerable victim, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, telling him she loved him and wanted to live with him.
But in reality she lived with a partner.
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said when the defendant went on to steal the man’s mobile phone and bank card – and dishonestly obtained £8,150.
She said the pensioner thought he had lost his bank card, but Geary was caught on CCTV using it to fraudulently withdraw funds.
The court was told when the police went to the victim’s Aylestone home in April, the 33-year-old defendant was there in possession of the pensioner’s bank cards and car keys.
Life sentence for jilted fiance who carried out merciless ‘honour killing’
A ‘remorseless’ killer who brutally knifed his fiancée to death in revenge for cancelling their wedding has been jailed for life.
Jigukumar Sorthi carried out an “honour killing” because he felt his family’s reputation had been tarnished by the rejection.
The 24-year-old will have to serve a minimum term of 28 years behind bars.
Sorthi was convicted of murdering Bhavini Pravin unanimously by a Leicester Crown Court jury in September.
She died in her mother’s arms in the lounge of the Pravin family home in Moore’s Road, Belgrave, in the city, on afternoon of Monday, March 2.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC said: “This was a horrific, brutal and merciless killing.
“You took the life of a beautiful, talented young woman, just 21 years of age.
“For what, Jigukumar Sorthi, for what?
“You heap upon yourself shame vastly greater than anything you’ve sought to avenge – and visited upon the family enormous suffering.”