Teenage who attacked child thought he had killed her, says prosecutor
PUBLISHED: 12:14 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:52 06 March 2019
A teenage boy accused of raping and attempting to murder a 10-year-old believed he had killed her, prosecutors claim.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admits choking and sexually assaulting the girl in Exmouth, Devon, on October 4.
He denies raping the girl - whom he did not know - while she was unconscious, and leaving her to die in a stream.
Anna Vigars QC, prosecuting, told Bristol Crown Court that the boy attacked the girl ‘in the most frightening way possible’ by running up behind her and placing his arm around her throat.
The boy then took the girl to a nearby riverbank, continuing the pressure on her neck, and kept his face hidden until she fell unconscious.
“While she was unconscious, his face was right in front of her,” Mrs Vigars said.
“He thought she was dead. There was no risk of his face being seen by her because he thought he had done what he set out to do to her, which was to kill her.
“He didn’t think there was any way she was going to wake up. He couldn’t have thought that there was a risk because otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.”
She described the defendant’s account that he accidentally rendered the girl unconscious by slipping down the bank while restraining her by the neck as ‘nonsense’.
The boy claims that after sexually assaulting the girl, he checked she was breathing and had a pulse before watching from behind a tree to see her wake up.
After returning home, he searched on news sites to check whether the attack had been reported.
“The only thing that could possibly get to the news website that fast was a murdered child, a body being found,” Ms Vigars said.
“He thought she was dead and he meant for her to be dead.”
Richard Smith QC, defending, said the boy was in ‘turmoil’ the night before the incident.
“The following day, he randomly came across the poor girl and in an impulsive blurt of emotion he decided to inflict on her some of the emotional hurt and heartache he was feeling,” Mr Smith said.
“It is a chilling piece of thinking. He took hold of her in a way that was going to restrain her. He had no intention of rendering her unconscious.
“He was going to sexually assault her.”
Mr Smith said the boy’s guilty pleas to sexually assaulting the girl and choking her in order to do so would be dealt with separately.
“This is about whether that young boy should be held criminally responsible for the things he says he didn’t do,” he told the jury.
The boy felt ‘disgusted’ about what he did to ‘a young girl in the wrong place at the wrong moment’, Mr Smith said.
The barrister questioned whether the jury had a ‘safe foundation’ to convict the boy of the charges he denies.
Forensic scientists have said it is not possible to determine from scientific evidence in the case whether the girl was raped or sexually assaulted.
The boy denies attempted murder, attempting to choke with intent to commit rape, and rape of a child under 13.
The trial continues.