Teenager accused of attempted murder and rape of girl, 10, in Exmouth, held on remand after latest court appearance.
PUBLISHED: 14:15 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 11 October 2018
A teenager who has been charged with the attempted murder and rape of a schoolgirl in Exmouth appeared before a District Judge this morning (Thursday, October 11).
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will now be held on remand to appear before Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, November 8, for a plea and case management hearing.
Superintendent Matt Lawler, the local policing commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon said: “We would like to remind everyone that the family have specifically asked that their privacy is respected whilst they try to come to terms with the enormity of what has happened.
“They remain very grateful for the messages of support that have been offered, and continue to have close support from specialist family liaison officers working with the Major Crime Investigation Team.”
The Force had previously explained that anyone who is alleged to be a victim of a sexual crime are automatically granted anonymity for life; regardless of their age and regardless of the outcome of any subsequent criminal trial. Any suspect under the age of 18 is also by law not allowed to be identified.
These rules are not solely for media organisations to adhere to, they also apply to everyone, and includes all information posted via social media.
This may be seen as interfering with a live investigation and an active criminal trial process, and therefore could see those who do not adhere found in contempt of court. This means that they would find themselves called before a judge and landed with a criminal record.
Supt Lawler added: “The court have imposed very strict conditions in relation to this case and it is vital that we protect the integrity and fairness of a future trial.
“No-one should speculate on the identity of either the victim or the suspect in this case. We are aware of a number of on-line discussions that, quite reasonably and understandably, have included reference to the impact of this case and concern for the little girl who is naturally at the centre of all our thoughts.
“We are not aware currently of anyone breaching the court imposed restrictions, but we will continue to monitor open forums and do feel it is important to re-affirm the need to respect both the family’s wishes, and the legal process.
“Over the last week significant additional policing presence has been provided in parks, outside schools, and in the area of Marley Road Exmouth.
“This has been to provide reassurance, particularly to parents and their children, to be available to answer questions and share concerns.
“We have had consistently positive feedback as a result. I would encourage residents to continue to approach local officers with any issues they may have, and reassure everyone that these dedicated patrols will continue through to the end of this week.
“We remain in close contact with schools close to the incident, and we would like to thank all of the towns’ teachers and staff for the incredible support they have provided to their students of all ages over the last week.
“Since last Thursday, Exmouth as a community has genuinely come together in response to a serious but also extremely rare event.
“Our specialist investigation and local neighbourhood teams will be providing support to the family and local residents long into the future, but for now, we ask that the family have some privacy and the legal process is allowed to take its course.”