A MURDERER who killed a 59-year-old Bingley woman by stabbing her nine times in a "horrible and senseless" attack is on the run from prison.

Sussex Police are searching for Jeremy Brabrooke, of Frizinghall, Bradford, after he absconded from an open prison on November 14.

He was spotted in a Hampshire church the next day and police have appealed for information to catch him.

Brabrooke, 56, stabbed Doris Whitaker on September 2, 1987, when he was 26-years-old and working as a gardener.

The keen birdwatcher had appeared in court earlier the same day for making obscene telephone calls and had left the hearing in a rage.

He was said to be furious because the chairman of the bench was the wife of a senior official in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Brabrooke was the leader of the junior section and, fearing he would be thrown out, took a motorcycle to Bingley with a sheaf knife tucked down his trousers.

His 13-day murder trial heard how he spotted Miss Whitaker - a regular church-goer and respected member of the community - sunbathing in her garden and later went to the back door of her house asking for a fictitious person.

When he produced the knife, Miss Whitaker ran for her life, but was grabbed and stabbed eight times in the back and once in her stomach.

She cried out for help and a friend found her lying face down on the stairs and called an ambulance, but she died three weeks later in Airedale Hospital.

The odd-job gardener who killed her was a fantasist who believed he was the re-incarnated brother of Conan the Barbarian.

He said he was growing antlers and turning into a stag to show the world where he came from.

Brabrooke also claimed he had played for Leeds United 12 times when Jimmy Armfield was the manager and he had been in the Falklands War when two of his friends died.

His bizarre side was shown by a strange habit of pulling out tufts of hair from his head.

He appeared at one court hearing almost completely bald, still tugging at his scalp.

He took steps to ensure police found it difficult to catch him by riding to Bingley in two layers of clothing so he could take one set off in a bid to escape unnoticed.

Brabrooke also made sure people saw him outside his home.

However, he confessed the killing to police in a 31-page document and told two girlfriends and his father about the attack.

He even wrote a poem to Miss Whittaker apologising for the attack and officers found his fingerprints on the front and back doors of her house.

When he was interviewed by police, he backtracked and said he had built up a picture of the scene in his mind after reading and watching TV and newspaper reports.

Leeds Crown Court heard he had convinced a London psychiatrist that he was suffering from schizophrenia but two West Yorkshire doctors said he had a personality disorder and was faking mental illness.

He was said to have been admired by all the children in the Young Orthinologists Club and had won the respect of the youngsters and their parents with his "extensive knowledge" of birds and his exciting trips.

Passing a life sentence down, Mr Justice McKinnon told Brabrooke: "The jury have convicted you of the horrible and senseless murder of a well-liked and wholly innocent woman of 59 who was a complete stranger to you.

The victim was described at the time as someone who "still had so much to give, so much to share, and so much to receive from life.

She had delighted in music and had a been in demand as a solo singer.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "Officers are keen to locate and detain the 56-year-old, who was last seen at the prison on Wednesday (14 November).

"He was captured on CCTV at St Faith's Church in Havant, Hampshire, later that same day.

"He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988 for murder in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and is known to have links to Hayling Island and Portsmouth in Hampshire.

"Anyone who sees him or knows where he may be is asked to call 999.

"You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."