Kentish Town carpenter convicted of killing two ex-girlfriends

A CARPENTER who killed two ex-girlfriends - including a highbury mum - and threw their mutilated bodies into canals faces spending the rest of his life behind bars.

John Sweeney, 54, from the Kentish Town area, will be given two life sentences at the Old Bailey for murdering Melissa Halstead and Paula Fields. He is likely to be told that he is so dangerous, he will never be released from prison.

Detectives say Sweeney may have killed other women and will continue to try to trace former girlfriends.

Sweeney is already serving four life sentences for attacking another girlfriend, Delia Balmer, with an axe in 1994.

Former model Miss Halstead, 33, from the US, was killed in 1990. Her dismembered body was thrown into a canal in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. She was only identified 18 years later by DNA, although her head and hands have never been found.

The body parts of Paula Fields, 31, were found in six holdalls floating in the Regent’s Canal in Camden, in February 2001. Her head, hands and feet are still missing.

Now detectives want to know what happened to two South American former girlfriends of Sweeney who have not been seen since the late 1990s. Little is known about them, except that one was a Brazilian woman known as Leani, the other a Colombian called Maria.

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There may also be a third missing woman reportedly featured in Sweeney’s “confessional” artwork and Dutch police are understood to be looking into Sweeney’s claims to Miss Balmer that he killed two German men whom he caught with Miss Halstead.

Liverpool-born Sweeney was arrested in March 2001, having been on the run since attacking nurse Miss Balmer, who was in her 40s.

Sentencing was put off until Tuesday after Sweeney refused to leave the cells on Monday afternoon. The judge said he was considering passing a whole-life term.