MURDERED doctor Joan Francisco, whose ex-boyfriend was jailed for life yesterday at the Old Bailey, spent some of her last days before her brutal death with a friend in Bolton.

The London doctor, killed by an obsessive stalker, had worked for several days as a locum in Southport while staying with film producer Anthony Henry in Bolton in 1994.

The Old Bailey heard how Mr Henry had met Dr Francisco as "mutual friends" during November 1994 while on a flight back from Los Angeles to Heathrow.

Yesterday, the jury took a little over three hours to unanimously convict "walking timebomb" Anthony Diedrick, 39, of strangling the society doctor with a vacuum cleaner flex on Boxing Day 1994. Ex-boyfriend Diedrick, of West London, was given life after a landmark decision in the High Court .

In March last year, a High Court judge ruled that Dr Francisco, 27, was murdered by infatuated ex-lover Diedrick, even though he had never been charged with the killing.

The family had launched a five-year campaign for justice prompting civil action for damages for assault and battery against computer operator Diedrick.

The High Court judge said he was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Diedrick struck and then strangled the doctor in her home.

He said he was satisfied Diedrick stalked her home relentlessly and believing she was about to set off for America, entered her home on Boxing Day before killing her.

Passing the life sentence, Mrs Justice Hallet, told smartly dressed Diedrick: "You have been convicted by a jury of a terrible crime. A beautiful and vivacious woman with a wonderful future is dead.

"Her life was snuffed out because she rejected you. You claimed to have loved her but I am not convinced you know the meaning of the word.

"You were obsessed with her but you could not have her. You wanted what you could not have.

"You stalked her in a mean and despicable way, knowing that if she knew what you were up to she would be terrified."

The judge praised the doctor's family and said that they had "fought with dignity" to bring her killer to justice.

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