A LONER has been jailed for life for the gruesome murder of a prostitute with whom he shared a flat.

Kenneth Valentine, formerly of Colne where he was known as Kenneth Anness, strangled Caroline Creevy and then wrapped her body in a rug.

He covered her head and feet in black plastic bin-liners and dumped her body in a storm drain in October 1996.

Caroline's body was discovered 18 days later by police frogmen behind a Bradford nightclub in a red light district of the city, near to where she shared a flat with Valentine, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Valentine, 43, of Thornton Road, Bradford, denied her murder but was found guilty by a jury after just over an hour's deliberation. Caroline's family cheered and wept when the verdict was read out.

Valentine, who changed his surname five days before being arrested by police, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve at least 22 years.

Passing sentence Mr Justice Ognall said: "You beat ferociously and then you strangled that unfortunate woman. Both your record and evidence in this case abundantly demonstrate that you are a very dangerous man."

Anton Lodge QC, prosecuting, told the court that security cameras in the complex where Valentine lived captured him carrying a large object out of the building in October 1996. "We submit the large object was the dead body of Caroline Creevy," Mr Lodge told the jury.

Fibres from Valentine's donkey jacket matched those taken from the rug, said Mr Lodge.

The court heard another prostitute known as Blondie heard screams of "help me, help me" over Caroline's flat's intercom when she had tried to get into the building shortly before Caroline was killed. Blondie later visited the flat and noticed the rug was missing.

Caroline was reported missing when she failed to get in touch with friends to celebrate her 26th birthday on Bonfire Night.

The court was told Caroline had been using Valentine's flat as a place to stay. She brought back clients and Valentine charged her £5 to use his bed.

A pathologist found Caroline had been strangled. She also had bruises on her face and arms and a broken nose.

DNA tests showed Caroline's blood was found on a bed board in the bedroom and on the mattress.

Dangerous man's life of crime

MURDERER Kenneth Valentine was a loner who was capable of violence, according to a detective involved in the murder hunt.

He had spent much of his adult life behind bars for crimes of violence and theft, including manslaughter and robbery.

Police believe his violent streak came to the fore after Caroline turned down his sexual advances. Valentine was brought up in Colne and lived in the area until the early 1980s before moving to West Yorkshire.

He changed his surname from Anness to Valentine five days before he was arrested for the murder of prostitute Caroline Creevy and died his hair blond.

His large family still has links with East Lancashire. He was one of three brothers and four sisters. His father, James Anness, lives in Clayton Street, Colne, as does one of his sisters. Another lives in Barrowford and a third in Burnley along with his younger brother. Valentine's remaining sister lives in Ireland and his elder brother Jim died last year aged 44.

Valentine's father said has not seen or heard from his son for many years.

"He was always in trouble," said Mr Anness. "He did a bit of work travelling with the fairgrounds but apart from that he would never work. He just got into bother."

A woman, who knew the family well, said: "I'm not surprised to hear this has happened to Kenneth. He was always a wrong 'un.

"It's difficult to put into words but I always thought he was a bit of a clever so and so."

Detective Constable Ray Copeland, of Bradford CID, said: "I saw him as a loner. He came across as very quiet and reserved and other people who came into contact with him said the same thing. "If you spoke to him he was very quiet but for some reason he had these bouts of violence." Speaking after Valentine was jailed for life yesterday for Caroline's murder Detective Superintendent Brian Taylor, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Clearly Valentine is a dangerous man and a danger to any woman that he chooses to come into contact with.

"A great deal of women can now rest a lot easier now that he has been jailed."

Valentine, who was single, was no stranger to prison. He was convicted in 1982 of indecent assault in Nelson and sent to jail.

"That was the last time he was in Lancashire," said DC Copeland. "After that he came over to West Yorkshire and I think he had been over here ever since."

He was sentenced for seven years for robbery in 1985 and in 1991 was convicted of the manslaughter of a Leeds woman and given nine years. When he was released from jail in 1995 he moved to Bradford and lived in a red light district of the city.

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