Life sentence with minimum nine years for man who stabbed Qingqing Rao in violent Dagenham robbery
PUBLISHED: 11:45 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:33 24 November 2017
A “sadistic predator” has been jailed for life with a minimum of nine years for stabbing a City worker in the head and leaving her for dead just yards from her Dagenham home.
Business analyst Qingqing Rao, 30, had been married for less than six months when Barry Peacham attacked her as she walked home from work.
Ms Rao, who is just 5ft 3in, was found lying unconscious by a path in Castle Green Park, having suffered “catastrophic” injuries from being stabbed in the head and vagina.
Since the attack on February 13, she has been in a persistent vegetative state and is considered “extremely unlikely” ever to recover consciousness.
Peacham, 26, was found guilty of wounding with intent and robbery following a trial at the Old Bailey, but cleared of attempted murder.
Judge Anne Molyneux handed him a life sentence with a minimum term of nine years given the seriousness of the offence.
She also handed him 12 years for robbery which will run concurrently.
She said: “This was a brutal, sadistic and cowardly attack on a lone female making her way home from work.
“You were a predator and showed her no mercy.
“The violence you used went way beyond that necessary for a robbery.”
Ms Rao, an only child, came to Britain from China in 2002 barely able to speak English but within three years had gained five top A-levels and a place to study maths at Imperial College.
She went on to obtain a master’s degree and worked in the City in investment risk analyses.
Judge Molyneux said she cared deeply for her parents, adding: “To her husband, she was a partner and a best friend. They had dreams and plans for their shared life together.”
She told Peacham: “Your actions have destroyed her life and that of her family. As her mother describes it, ‘a permanent shadow has been planted in my heart’.”
During the trial, which ended last month, the court heard that Ms Rao was still wearing her Apple earphones when she was found gravely injured.
Peacham had fled with her handbag, phone and computer tablet, with the latter never recovered.
Jurors were told that weapons-obsessed gardener Peacham had previous convictions dating back to 2008, when he was found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon in public.
He also had convictions for attacking his girlfriend in 2012 and robbery.
Peacham, of no fixed address, had denied the charges against him and claimed someone else was responsible.
Following his conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes, of Scotland Yard, had said: “To me this is a crime of pure evil.
“On that night he has effectively ended the life of a 30-year-old lady, who was on her way home from work, in the most brutal and vicious manner, stabbing her in the head, penetrating her brain.
“Peacham is one of the most dangerous men I have ever dealt with in my police career, which spans over 28 years.”
Ms Rao’s husband, Ansgar Wenzel described her as a “wonderful, warm-hearted and happy girl, always friendly and happy to help anyone who needed her help”.
He said: “I would not miss a single day of the almost 10 years we have shared; I will always remember how she smiled and turned her head laughing on the morning of 13th February when she left for work; the goodbye kiss is one I will always cherish.”