“He will present a grave danger of taking another human life. This man is bright, well read, and capable of fooling all but the very best psychiatrists and social workers. He’s another Ted Bundy. He could charm a victim to her death. I consider Edwin Snelgrove to be the most dangerous defendant I have ever dealt with. I believe that whenever he is released, even at the end of his maximum 20-year sentence, he will be capable of the most appalling acts on women…”

When Mary Renard regained consciousness on that hot August night in 1987 the stranger who had choked her into oblivion in the living-room of her New Jersey apartment was now straddling her in her own bed. He’d stripped her to the waist and tied her hands with rope. As she was about to beg him to leave her alone something ice-cold hit her in the chest.

“I learned later it was a knife blade going in my heart,” said 59-year-old Mary Renard. “The doctors said he’d missed my aorta by just an eighth of an inch.

“They told me how lucky I was to be alive, but for a long time I didn’t see it that way. But then I realised I was the only woman to survive his murderous attacks, and when he went to jail I prayed he would never be let out again.”

But her prayers were not answered and there were tragic consequences.

In January 2002 she learned that her attacker, Edwin Snelgrove, had been released from prison in December 1999 and had recently confessed to the murder of Carmen Rodriguez, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut…