Perpetrator sentenced to life in prison in brutal transphobic student murder
A man has been sentenced to life in prison after stabbing a student to death in what police are treating as a transphobic hate crime.
University of Salford student William Lound was discovered with twelve stab wounds, the knife still in his body, at his flat in Bramall Court halls of residence in February.
Lee Arnold pleaded guilty to his murder at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court last month.
He appeared via video link from Ashworth Hospital and remanded in custody. Earlier this week Arnold was sentenced to life in prison. He will serve a minimum of 23 years and four months.
Handing down the sentence, Judge John Potter said: “This was a brutal, pre-meditated sustained attack with a weapon upon a vulnerable and defenceless man.
“There is, in my judgement, evidence that your victim was murdered as a consequence of his sexual orientation.”
Greater Manchester Police said that although there was no clear motive for the murder, they were treating the incident as a transphobic hate crime because Mr Lound used to “dress up in women’s clothes.”
After the pair had sex at the victim’s flat, Arnold took a seven-inch serrated knife, climbed on top of him and stabbed him repeatedly.
The court heard that Lound continually asked: “Why are you doing this? Why me?”, and that Arnold replied: “Shut up you little freak”.
The attacker said he had wanted to get Lound naked so that he was at his “most vulnerable”. He scrawled “your [sic] not reddy [sic] for me. I always win. Tick tock”,” on the wall of the bedroom.
Arnold admitted to police that he had committed the crime the next day.
In the wake of his murder, Mr Lound’s family said he was “so well liked and respected by so many” because of his “very interesting character and great sense of humour”.
“William had just embarked on a very promising future, which would have enabled him finally to reach his potential,” they said.
“He would have been a great asset in the IT world had he not been taken from us so early.”
Salford University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Helen Marshall added: “This has come as a huge shock to us all, and our thoughts are with family and friends of the victim at this difficult time.”
In a double tragedy for the victim’s family, Mr Lound’s sister took her own life just three months after her brother’s death.
Gini – a business owner – delivered a moving eulogy to a packed congregation during Mr Lound’s funeral, at which she was pallbearer.
Her mother, Mo – who lost both of her children in less than four months – described her daughter as a “bright, kind and incredibly hard working young woman.”
But she said she did not blame Arnold for the killing, but rather she blamed “the system”.
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She said: “I don’t blame Arnold, I blame the system. He should not have been allowed to roam the streets unsupervised.”
Reading a victim impact statement to the court, she said: “I bear no malice towards Arnold. He appears to be a very sick man, for his safety and others he should be cared for in a secure unit.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Retford, from Greater Manchester Police’s serious crime division, added: “This was a horrific murder of a young man whose only mistake was to trust and try to help the wrong person.
“Lee Arnold used William’s kind heart and good nature to gain his trust and then stabbed him to death.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the LGBT community that I do not believe this was a case of Arnold randomly attacking somebody from within that community.
“Sadly, it appears that he and William had previously met, which ended up leading to his tragic death.”