A MURDERER has been told he must serve a minimum of 22 years in prison for carrying out the brutal killing of a sex worker in Leeds’s managed red light area.
Lewis Pierre, 24, will be sentenced today for killing Ms Pionko and stealing money from her handbag. Jurors heard how he bought a kebab and chips, drinks and cigarettes with part of the £80 taken.
Mr Justice James Goss yesterday told them: “He will obviously be sentenced to life imprisonment but I have to fix the minimum term.”
They had unanimously found Pierre, of Miles Hill Street, Meanwood, guilty of murdering the 21-year-old Polish woman on December 22 last year.
Ms Pionko had been in the UK for 10 months before her death and lived with her boyfriend in Armley. Her family believed that she worked in a bar.
On the night of the robbery, she went to work as usual in the managed area of Holbeck where sex workers and clients can meet during set times without being arrested.
But within a few hours, she was struggling with Pierre over her handbag. Her body was found in Springwell Road by a friend in the early hours.
Leeds Crown Court heard Pierre was wearing steel toecapped boots that night and Ms Pionko’s injuries were “heavily suggestive” of him using his feet during the attack.
A post mortem examination revealed she had suffered fractures to her nose and facial bones and bruising to her brain.
Ms Pionko’s blood was found on a pair of steel toecap boots and a cardigan at Pierre’s home.
Safer Leeds, a partnership involving the council, police and others, is reviewing the managed approach in Holbeck.
A spokesman said: “A further public consultation is currently being undertaken with local residents, businesses and stakeholders.
“This will inform a report with recommendations, which will be brought to a meeting of the Safer Leeds Executive later this summer.”