Victor Farrant, a rapist who was serving a whole-life sentence after murdering his former girlfriend, has died in prison.

The Prison Service said Farrant, 74, died at HMP Wakefield on Friday, May 3.

The children of Glenda Hoskins, whom he murdered, said his death ends an “agonising two months” since they heard he was being considered for early release and everyone should “feel safer that this repeat-offender psychopath will not strike again”.

He had been suffering from a longstanding health condition and a coroner will now look in to the cause of his death.

Farrant was convicted of the murder of Ms Hoskins, 44, his former girlfriend and mother-of-three, and the attempted murder of Ann Fidler, 45, in Eastleigh, in 1996.

Sentencing him to jail for life Mr Justice Butterfield, sitting at Winchester Crown Court in 1998, said Farrant was so dangerous that he should “never be released”.

In a joint statement on Monday, Ms Hoskins's children, Iain, Katie and David, said: “Farrant’s whole life sentence and the judges remarks that he should die in prison should have been respected.

“However, Farrant’s death, like his imprisonment, changes nothing for us, the circumstances and death of our mother, Glenda Hoskins, will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

“His death, though, does bring to a close a very painful chapter for us all. We, and the public at large should, certainly feel safer that this repeat-offender psychopath will not strike again.”

Earlier this year the Hoskins family said they had been contacted by officials who said that Farrant was being considered for compassionate leave as he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and could have months to live.

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A Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) meeting in April looked at the case which the family said had been passed on to the prison governor to decide whether to make a formal application for his release.

Hampshire Chronicle: Victor Farrant

Farrant was jailed in November 1988 for 12 years for rape and other offences, but just weeks after he was released on November 7 1995, he beat Ms Fidler at her home in Eastleigh.

Six weeks later, he murdered accountant Mrs Hoskins at her luxury waterside home in Portsmouth by pushing her under the water in the bath.

He left her body in the attic where it was found by her 15-year-old daughter Katie.

After killing Ms Hoskins, Farrant went on the run and was eventually arrested in the south of France.

After hearing about his death, the Hoskins family said: “This brings to a close an agonising two months since we were contacted by the Justice department about plans being made for his early release.

“As victims the lack of information and clarity of the steps in this process was bewildering and unnecessary.

“Our feeling is, while still respecting the judicial process a huge amount of pain and mental anguish could have been spared by allowing us better access to the factual elements of his petition for release.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Victor Farrant died on May 3 at HMP Wakefield. As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”