A MAN who stabbed his partner 27 times in a jealous drunken frenzy will serve at least 15 years for her murder.

Leslie Ann Caile –a much-loved grandmother of three - was found dead in her home at Hunwick, near Willington, County Durham, on Christmas Eve.

The 48-year-old social worker had been stabbed repeatedly to the throat, chest and abdomen.

She received a further six slash wounds to her arms and hands as she attempted to shield herself from the deadly blows.

Ms Caile’s partner, Peter Edward Yorke, 46, a former shop manager, pleaded guilty to her murder at Newcastle Crown Court today (Monday, April 22).

He was sentenced to life imprison, with a minimum term of 15 years.

Graham Reeds Q.C., prosecuting, described Yorke as a jealous, deluded and controlling man who was tormented by an unfounded suspicion that Ms Caile was having an affair.

In the weeks leading up to her murder, Yorke had stolen Ms Caile’s phone and sent text messages to a man she had briefly dated before the couple got together in 2011.

Pretending to be Ms Caile, he tried to trick the man into revealing incriminating information to back up his fantasies.

The charade proved fruitless but Yorke remained obsessed by the idea and, on December 23, fuelled by alcohol, he stabbed her to death in their home on North View.

The court heard how Yorke, who has no previous convictions, had been merciless in his attack, pursuing Ms Caile from the kitchen, through to the dining room and into the living room.

Her desperate attempts to escape were also demonstrated by traces of her blood on the front door.

Ms Caile’s son Ryan Caile, 23, discovered her body after breaking into the property the following morning.

Yorke was sat on the sofa with self-inflicted cuts to his neck and wrists.

His solicitor Martin Bethel Q.C. said Yorke was full of remorse for his actions and had attempted to take his own life.

He said Yorke, who has also written to Ms Caile’s family to apologise, had little recollection of the attack, adding: “It bears all the hallmarks of a frenzy – a short-lived frenzy.”

When passing sentence, Judge Paul Sloane said Yorke had carried out a “vicious and merciless attack,” adding: “It is clear Lesley Caile was much-loved and highly regarded.

“The loss you have caused and the suffering your actions will continue to cause is incalculable. No sentence I impose could ever extinguish the pain.”

The Northern Echo: Lesley Ann Caile
Lesley Ann Caile

Outside of court Ms Caile’s family paid tribute to a “wonderful daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunty and friend.”

“No sentence can make up for losing Lesley,” they said.

“It is hard to find the words to express how we feel. Our lives have been ruined forever.

“She was loving, caring and lived life to the full. She was devoted to her children, Lea and Ryan; her three grandchildren, Ellie, Kyran and Braden; her brothers and sister, Ian, John and Gillian; and her parents, James and Ann.

“Lesley was excellent at her job and highly thought of by her colleagues. “She will be greatly missed.”

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Edgar said the sentence had brought the tragic events of Christmas Eve to a conclusion.

“I hope that the sentence given by the Judge today provides the time for Peter to reflect on the damage and hurt he has caused."