A CONVICTED killer has been given a life sentence for attempting to murder a woman at his flat.

Stephen Allum, 60, who received a hospital order in 1998 for fatally stabbing then wife Thelma at the family home, will spent at least 17 years in jail before he is eligible for release on parole.

The 60-year-old invited his victim, a 59-year-old woman, to his home on January 24 this year. Within seconds of asking her to go into the back garden, Allum pulled a knife from his jacket and began attacking his victim.

The assault – labelled ‘ferocious’ by the police – only stopped when the knife’s blade snapped in two. Allum tried to throttle the woman, who was stabbed in the chest and also suffered cuts to her face, nose and finger.

At Oxford Crown Court on Friday, Judge Michael Gledhill QC imposed a life sentence, with Allum required to serve at least 17 years in prison before he is eligible for release.

Allum, formerly of Morrell Crescent, Littlemore, pleaded guilty to attempted murder at an earlier hearing.

Welcoming the sentence, Det Con Josie Cassidy of Oxford CID said: “This attack was sickening and completely unprovoked, and I hope that the victim sees this indeterminate sentence as the justice she deserves.

“The victim in this case has shown tremendous courage, tenacity and patience while we brought Allum to justice, and I hope that she can put this horrific ordeal behind her and move on with her life in the knowledge that Allum is now behind bars where he belongs.

“This level of violence will never be tolerated, and we will always investigate with determination to bring dangerous men such as Allum to justice.”

In 1998, Allum was given an indefinite hospital order for the manslaughter of his then wife, Thelma, at the family home in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in October 1997.

He stabbed her to death 17 days after his release from a secure mental hospital.

An inquiry carried out by the NHS in the wake of the tragedy found that the care he had received was inadequate.

The sentence imposed by Judge Gledhill on Friday means Allum will be monitored by the authorities for the rest of his life.

Det Con Cassidy said: “Allum is a violent and dangerous man, and this discretionary life sentence handed out is an exceptional outcome arising from his guilty plea.

“This sentence means that Allum will not be a danger to the public for many years to come, and he will not be eligible to apply for parole for at least 17 years.

“Even at this point, he will need to satisfy the parole board that he is no longer a risk to the public and will be subject to conditions for the rest of his life in any case.”

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