JURORS gasped at the disclosure. Having found troubled Ian Haywood guilty of a horrific attack on a courting couple at an isolated beauty spot, they were stunned to learn of his murderous past - he had hacked the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Hampshire businessman to death with a machete after she discovered him stealing jewellery and other valuables from their Country Life home.

Though the heavily-built psychopath was given a life sentence, he was inexplicably freed after 14 years and months later, masked and armed, he tried to rape a terrified 17-year-old, stabbing her 35 times in the face, hands and neck after bundling her boy friend into the boot of his car. So extreme was the violence in both cases Haywood has been told he will die in jail.

His first victim was privately-educated Karena Bigg-Wither who had had taken pity on the then 19-year-old Haywood, characteristically anxious to aid those who she considered less fortunate than herself. A friend at the time said: "She was always sorry for misfits and showed them remarkable sympathy. She attracted insecure people. They came to her like magnets."

Daily Echo: Ian Haywood.

She had allowed Haywood, who had just been released from Borstal for his latest series of crimes of dishonesty, to sleep on the floor of her flat at her parents' luxury home in Dogmersfield, near Basingstoke, but he was the lame duck who turned on her. Her parents had gone away for a holiday in Paris on September 7, 1983, but when they returned a week later, they found their six bedroom home burgled and no sign of their 26-year-old daughter who worked as an Avon Lady.

The following morning, her father, Richard, who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his undaunted courage in carrying out dangerous attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz in operation 'Goodwood' during the Second World War, made the shattering discovery of her body lying in bushes after seeing a discarded sandal near a lawn mover in their rear garden. She had been brutally mutilated. To her face and head alone, 16 appalling wounds with underlying fractures had been inflicted.

Aldershot-born Haywood, who had been seen driving away from the property, was soon arrested and in a statement told police how she had "lost her head, screaming because he was taking things."

He tried to strangle her in the house but she fled into the garden after breaking windows. He gave chase and caught her by the arm. "There was a machete lying by the mower. I hit her across the neck with the blunt side but she carried on screaming. So I hit her more blows."

David Owen-Thomas, prosecuting at Winchester Crown Court on May 3, 1984, when the jobless labourer admitted murder, said of her last moments: "He then said she was so badly injured he did what one would do with injured birds - put them out of their misery."

Daily Echo: Karena  Bigg-Wither.

The womaniser, the eldest of three boys raised by their mother, a taxi firm radio operator who had separated from her husband when he was five, afterwards went to a local hotel with a married girlfriend who he had impregnated on the day of his release from Borstal.

Mr Justice Bristow agreed there were no mitigating circumstances and because of his age, the answer was provided by the law, telling Haywood: "You know the score, no doubt. The sentence requires me to impose is one of custody for life."

But while behind bars, he met his future wife, Ann, a voluntary prison visitor and counsellor, who knew he was serving time for murder but was unaware of the circumstances. She was shocked to later discover his explanation that he had killed his abusive stepfather was a total fabrication.

Two years later in 1994, they were married and he was granted day release passes. He was eventually released from jail in 1998 on licence and the couple settled near Burgess Hill in Sussex. For months, he kept out of trouble, having found employment as a lorry driver, but went back to his old ways after being made redundant.

Finally came the horrific attack on the young couple sitting in a car on Ditchling Common in East Sussex. He suddenly appeared out of the dark, masked and brandishing a gun and a knife. Firing one shot into the air, he struck the 19-year-old boyfriend on the head and locked him in the boot of his car. When she told him they had no money, he told her to strip and tried to rape her, attacking her with such ferocity she required more than 140 stitches for her injuries. It was after she played dead that he ran off.

Daily Echo: German battleship Tirpitz.

" I curled up into a ball," she told jurors of her ordeal. "He leant forward and I felt the first stab. He did it another couple of times and then I went numb. He just kept going and going."

Returning home, he confessed to his wife who phoned the police, and the following morning after seeing a tv news bulletin naming him in connection with the attack, he walked into Brighton police station to surrender.

At the Old Bailey, however, he denied charges of attempted murder, attempted rape and attempted robbery, claiming his wife had tried to frame him as she was suffering from mental instability, and had friends in the criminal underworld who set him up. 

But the jury saw through his pretence, leaving Bigg-Wither's sister, Alexandra Johnston, furious he had been released without her having no say in the decision.

"My feeling is that the system which allows this to happen is wrong and needs to be looked at," she told a press reporter.  "Karina's murder totally devasted our family. Both our parents are now dead and I don't feel they ever recovered from the horror of it. I was phoned one evening and told his release was imminent. I was assured I could have some involvement in the final report of when he was released. I wanted to talk about my feelings on behalf of our family and how it had affected us. I just wanted to be involved in the final decision made about him but I had no reply at all."

The decision to release Haywood baffled Ds Chris Standard, part of the Operation Angler team investigating the beauty spot attack.

"I am puzzled how the Parole Board arrived at a decision that he was a person fit and safe to be released into the community when he later commits this horrendous attack on two young people he does not know. He is clearly a dangerous man. There would have been some serious psychotic tendencies. It was an irrational and very, very frightening attack with no real motive. The couple were complete strangers to him. It was such a motiveless and horrific assault."