10-year-old girl found sobbing in stream, court heard

PUBLISHED: 09:45 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:45 27 February 2019

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court.


A woman has described going to the aid of a 10-year-old girl who was ‘howling’ in a stream after allegedly being choked and raped by a teenage boy.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of attempting to murder the girl in Exmouth, Devon, on October 4.

Bristol Crown Court was told the girl heard footsteps running behind her before she was grabbed around the neck and dragged down a bank and into the stream.

A jury have been told the boy, now aged 17, admits choking the girl and sexually assaulting her.

He denies raping the girl and leaving her to die in the water.

Helen Bailey was walking home when she heard a child ‘howling and yelling’ from the stream and walked across to see what was happening.

“I immediately saw the girl on the other side of the brook,” Mrs Bailey told the court.

“She was sitting down, very, very distressed. When she saw me, she turned to sobbing.

“Her first words were, ‘he strangled me, he strangled me, he strangled me’, possibly more than three times.

“Her eyes were darting upriver and she said, ‘he’s thrown my phone into the river’.”

Mrs Bailey said the girl struggled to stand up as her tights and underwear were below her knees and soaking wet.

Marvin Weir, another passer by, went to help after seeing Mrs Bailey by the riverbank.

“The little girl said she had been strangled,” he told the court.

In a statement, the girl’s mother said she was muddy, wobbly and confused after the attack.

“She kept saying she just wanted to be normal again and she wanted to go to school the next day,” she said.

Jurors heard the boy was noticed to be sweaty and acting strangely when he returned home, claiming he needed to change his clothing after falling from his bike.

His family contacted police the following day after reading about the attack on a local news website and realising he had been in the area.

Detective Sergeant Joanne Simms, of Devon and Cornwall Police, arrested the boy on suspicion of attempting to murder the girl.

Medical examinations found the girl’s eyes were swollen and bruised, with six marks to her neck.

There were two areas of bruising on her back, scratches on her leg and injuries to her genital area.

The boy denies attempted murder, attempting to choke with intent to commit rape, and rape of a child under 13.

On Monday, his barrister said the boy had inadvertently rendered the girl unconscious after they fell down the riverbank while he was restraining her around the neck.

In cross-examination on Tuesday, the girl said: “We walked down. One of my feet slipped a bit but I didn’t fall down.”

The trial continues, and is due to last for two weeks.

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