Died March 2011
Elizabetta Pecka (95) died two months after being attacked and sexually assaulted on 21st January 2011, in her bedroom at the Bradford nursing home in which she lived. Originally from Slovenia, she was a resident at Rosewood Court nursing home in Shakespeare Close, Berkerend and had gone to bed when her attacker broke into her room.
Scott Sorby (21)attacked Elizabetta Pecka, hitting her at least ten times and leaving her with fractures to her cheekbones, jawbone and eye socket. He dragged her into her bathroom where he also attempted to rape her. It was described as a prolonged and ferocious attack. Prosecutor Adrian Waterman QC told Bradford Crown Court that Ms Pecka had been relatively well and independent before the attack, but never recovered from the trauma and died in hospital two months later.
She was found by a member of staff, kneeling and covered in blood in her bathroom. Her lower clothing was around her ankles. Blood covered the walls and floor. Ms Pecka told medical staff her attacker was an animal who had treated her like a dog. On the way to hospital, she pleaded with paramedics to let her die. She was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary, but her condition “relentlessly and inexorably” worsened. She died from bronchial pneumonia, due to multiple injuries. Medical experts linked her death to the attack.
Sorby, formerly of Binns Lane, Lidget Green, Bradford, was 20 at the time of the attack, living in a probation hostel, and on licence after serving half of a four and a half year jail sentence for the rape and assault of a 20 year old woman student when he was 17. He had broken into a cabin where she was working as a security guard, hit her and tried to rape her. He was freed in October 2012 despite a psychiatrist’s warning that he posed a “very significant and ongoing” risk to women.
Sorby pleaded guilty to the murder and attempted rape of Ms Pecka. The judge, Mr Justice King sentenced Sorby to life imprisonment and said the minimum term he would have to serve before the Parole Board could even consider his release would be 24 years.
The judge said: “I should stress that such a release is by no means automatic. The Parole Board will only order your release if they consider it safe and appropriate to do so and are satisfied that you pose no danger to the public. You are a patently dangerous young man.”
Mr Justice King said the murder was for gain during the course of a burglary and the victim was particularly vulnerable. “You inflicted a significant degree of mental and physical suffering upon her before she died some two months after.” It was a prolonged and ferocious attack and it appeared Sorby had deliberately imprisoned Ms Pecka in her bathroom. He said it appeared he had carried out a search of her bedroom after the physical attack upon her, describing him as a “damaged and dangerous” young man.
Though he claimed to regret his attack on Ms Pecka, Sorby was said to have blamed his actions on his previous female victim. He claimed to have experienced flashbacks to that incident during the attack on Ms Pecka, hurting her because he said he blamed his previous victim for hurting him. Sorby wrote in a letter found in his prison cell: “I thought I was hurting the person who had hurt me. When I came back to reality I was covered in blood. I felt like a monster. In another letter for the probation service, he wrote: “I wanted to keep on hurting her. I kept on hitting her on the head. All I wanted to do was hurt this elderly lady.”
The court heard that when Sorby heard that she had died he smashed up his cell, tied a bedsheet round his neck, cut his arm and daubed messages, some in his own blood, on his cell wall, including “evil bastard.”
Det Supt Dick Nuttall, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Scott Sorby carried out a brutal and cowardly physical and sexual assault on a vulnerable and defenceless lady of 94 in the very place she felt most safe. Mrs Pecka had been an active lady in relatively good health, but after this attack she never left hospital and it is very clear that Sorby’s actions led to her death.”
Det Supt Nuttall added he hoped Sorby’s sentence would bring some sense of justice to the people who cared for Ms Pecka
Sorby’s defence lawyer, Paul Greaney QC, said Sorby had a severe mixed personality disorder.
Questions have been asked about the decision not to give Sorby an indeterminate sentence when he was sentenced for the earlier sex attack in June 2008. At the time, a psychiatric report concluded Sorby “presents a risk of physical and sexual violence towards females and physical violence towards males”.
Note: This report was compiled from reports in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus; the BBC; and the Daily Mail.