Killer of Sheffield trucker dies of cancer

Anita Muscroft
Anita Muscroft
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A killer who was sent to a psychiatric hospital indefinitely after stabbing her lover to death in Sheffield has died from lung cancer, aged 49.

Anita Muscroft was sent to Rampton Secure Hospital in 2001 after a judge ruled she was a danger to the public.

She had admitted to the manslaughter of her boyfriend Peter Jones on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

An inquest has now found she died from natural causes in Bassetlaw Hospital last June, while still under the court order.

In March 1995 single mum Muscroft, then aged 31, downed a cocktail of drink and drugs before stabbing her partner 11 times in the chest with a kitchen knife at his council maisonette in Catherine Road, Pitsmoor, Sheffield.

The fatal blow was a single stab wound through the heart.

She claimed Jones - a 45-year-old lorry driver, and the father of three sons - had been violent towards her, and that she killed him after provocation and in self defence.

Muscroft, formerly of Coleridge Road, Eastwood, Rotherham, always denied murder but was convicted in 1996 and jailed for life.

Women’s and domestic violence protesters campaigned for her release, and in 2001 the Appeal Court in London ruled her conviction should be quashed on the basis of fresh evidence.

The court Muscroft suffered a severe personality disorder after experiencing extreme sexual and physical abuse from an early age.

Muscroft was sent to Rampton Secure Hospital the same year after a judge ruled he was ‘entirely satisfied’ she suffered a psychopathic disorder which warranted an unlimited period of treatment.

Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard that, when Muscroft was first sent to Rampton Secure Hospital, staff experienced ‘challenging behaviour’ from her - but she later engaged with staff and became a popular patient.

Muscroft, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in May last year, after being admitted to Bassetlaw Hospital coughing up blood.

Further tests and scans found the cancer was terminal and only palliative treatment was available.

She was transferred back to Rampton Hospital, and underwent two sessions of chemotherapy in hospital.

But Ivan Cartwright, assistant coroner for Nottinghamshire, was told her condition ‘rapidly deteriorated’ - and she died of pneumonia and lung cancer last June 12.

Mr Carwright concluded Muscroft died from natural causes.

He said: “She was treated at both Rampton and Bassetlaw Hospital. I have learnt her attitude shifted markedly when the full effects of chemotherapy manifested, and her mood deteriorated in line with her health.”