Man who mutliated woman’s genitals and murdered her for being gay sentenced to life in prison

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A man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a woman because she was a lesbian and mutilating her genitals.

London steelworker Michael Purcell was jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

The 53-year-old killed his 49-year-old flatmate Imelda Molina after he discovered she was a lesbian.

The Old Bailey heard that the murderer had planned to steal over a thousand pounds from Molina’s girlfriend Amalia Valdez.

After breaking into his flatmate’s room at their flat in Cricklewood, North London, Purcell stabbed her more than 48 times in the back, chest and genitals.

The court heard that the body of Molina, who was a housekeeper, was found minutes after her death by Valdez as she returned with a pizza from a local takeaway.

£1000 in a rucksack belonging to Valdez, who also worked as a housekeeper, was later found in Purcell’s wardrobe.

He denied remembering the attack saying he had drunk a lot of Jack Daniels in the two weeks leading up to the murder.

The Irish-born steelworker owed more than £8,000 in tax, the court heard.

Molina had been paying some of her wages back to her family in the Philippines, after moving to the UK back in 2013.

She and Valdez had met two months after she moved to the UK.

Valdez had been living with Purcell, who she knew as ‘Mick’, since 2011.

Judge Wendy Joseph QC, sentencing Purcell, said she believed that he inflicted the injuries on Molina’s genitals either because she was gay or because she was a woman.

She said: “There has never been a clear account of what happened in the flat but I am satisfied there came a time where Ms Molina was under threat and either fled to her room or was already there and locked the door from the inside.

“When she was dead or dying he made a further attack with the knife in her genital area. It is impossible to interpret your decision to carry out this later attack as anything other than an attack made in reference to her sex or sexual orientation which you knew to be lesbian.”

Purcell was found guilty last month, saying he couldn’t remember why he killed Molina, but that he was sorry.

He described her as a “lovely lady”, and told police “I killed the woman next door, I just want to die”.

When Purcell, from Tipperary, Ireland, had swabs taken at St Mary’s Hospital, he said: “I don’t know why you’re doing this, it’s not needed. I hold my hands up. I did it.”