TECHNICALLY, Barry Peacham did not kill Qinguing Rao – but in every other sense he ended her life. Rao was a banker in the City: now she lies in a vegetative state, receiving round the clock care in a specialist nursing home and without hope that she will recover.
Peacham, 26, of no fixed address in Dagenham, was convicted of grievous bodily harm and robbery last week after a trial at the Old Bailey. He was found not guilty of attempted murder. He will return to the Old Bailey on 24th November for sentencing.
It was 13th February when he attempted to rob Ms Rao, 29, of Castle Green, Dagenham. He stabbed her twice – causing a catastrophic brain injury. There were no witnesses to the actual attack.
The story that police have pieced together is that Ms Rao got off a bus on the A13 Ripple Road at approximately 9.40pm on 13th February and began walking home, her route taking her across Castle Green Park. As she reached her house, Peacham attacked her and stabbed her, before robbing her. Ms Rao was found a couple of minutes after the attack by a passer-by, who called an ambulance. Ms Rao was taken to hospital, where emergency surgery took place.
The police also came to the scene of the attack and quickly found Ms Rao’s handbag and some non-valuable items discarded in the park across which she had taken her last ever walk. Valuable items were gone. Police saw a man on CCTV footage taken in the area and identified Peacham, carrying a tablet. He was then further investigated, before being charged.
The Old Bailey heard from Ms Rao’s husband who described how she had grown up in rural China but had managed to gain qualifications and then come to the UK to study. The couple met when Ms Rao was a maths student at Imperial College. They had been together for a few days short of ten years and married for just under six months when Peacham ended their happiness. Ms Rao’s husband also thanked the police, the CPS and the criminal justice system for trying to bring Peacham to justice. He welcome the outcome of the trial, feeling that justice had at last been served – even though it would make no difference to his wife’s condition.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes of the Homicide and Major Crime Command said, “The injuries Peacham caused to Qingqing were truly shocking. His intention was to rob her that evening but the level of force used against her was horrific and completely unnecessary. This was a crime of pure evil.
“She will never recover from her injuries and will need specialist care for the rest of her life. It is incredibly sad for a young woman who had a promising career and had been married less than six months. Tragically she was only two or three minutes from her home and her husband when Peacham struck.
“He then clumsily tried to cover his tracks but actions and subsequent lies quickly caught him out and led to his swift arrest following some excellent detective work by my team. Peacham is undoubtedly facing a long term of imprisonment and is it justly deserved.”