Police chiefs today praised Telegraph & Argus readers for their part in caging 'horrifying' kidnapper Barry Walsh.

As the maniac car-jacker today began a life sentence for snatching a pensioner from the street, stabbing her with a screwdriver and taking her on a three-hour ride of terror, officers paid tribute to the public for its role in bringing him to justice.

After the T&A published a photo-fit image of Walsh compiled by his victim Blanche Rhodes, numerous readers rang detectives giving his name.

As revealed in yesterday's T&A, Walsh, of Sutton Avenue, Swain House, Bradford, was jailed for life after admitting kidnapping and attacking Mrs Rhodes in her own car last September.

The Court was told he had already served 23 years in jail for a catalogue of crimes over four decades.

Judge Stephen Gullick, honorary recorder of Bradford, heard how Walsh was sentenced to nine years in 1995 for breaking into an 82-year-old woman's Cleckheaton home, stabbing her with a knife and tying her up with telephone cable.

Judge Gullick told him: "You are a dangerous and horrifying individual from which women and the wider public need protection for a very long time."

After the sentence, Detective Constable Glen Acornley, one of the team which captured Walsh, said: "This was a very serious and difficult case to investigate.

"Although we were already making inquiries, it was down to the readers of the T&A who came forward with information which enabled us to bring the investigation to a successful conclusion."

Within hours of the photo-fit being published, officers received numerous calls confirming Walsh as the prime suspect.

After the odd-job man was led away from the courtroom at Bradford Crown Court, a tearful Mrs Rhodes paid tribute to the officers who conducted the case.

She said: "It is such a relief that he has been sentenced. I had to be here myself to see it happen.

"Hopefully, it means that I can now draw a line under this whole ordeal and try to put my life back together.

"I have nothing but praise for the police who caught this man and have been a fantastic support over the last few months."