Rape and attempted murder trial opens

PUBLISHED: 18:53 25 February 2019

Archant

A 16-year-old boy throttled and raped a 10-year-old girl on his way home from school before leaving her for dead in a stream, a court heard.

The boy, now 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons attacked his victim in Exmouth on October 4, 2018.

The girl was found by a passer-by - wet, muddy and barely conscious, lying in the stream with her underwear pulled down.

The boy has already pleaded guilty to choking and sexually assaulting the little girl but he denies rape and attempted murder.

He also denies that he intended to choke her unconscious so he could rape her.

At the opening of the trial at Bristol Crown Court on Monday, February 25, Anna Vigars QC, prosecuting, said: “He took hold of her from behind – around her throat – wrapping his arm around her neck and squeezing hard.”

He then dragged her down the bank and raped her, the court heard.

The jury was shown a police interview with the victim in which she described pretending to be dead during the attack.

She said she was grabbed from behind, adding: “I was worried that I didn’t have enough oxygen and I might die.

“He was doing it tighter and tighter. I couldn’t speak because my mouth was really swollen.

“At first I tried pretending like I died or something. I flopped down and I had my eyes shut. I thought at that point he might have just left – but then I really did fade away.”

She described coming to and calling out for help.

A passing member of public heard her cries and came to her rescue.

The boy got home late and his family noticed he was ‘sweating profusely’, Ms Vigars said.

“He said something about having fallen off his bike and went upstairs to change out of his muddy clothes,” she continued.

After police were alerted to the boy’s ‘unusual behaviour’, forensic examinations found his DNA on the victim, as well as her DNA on him.

The boy maintains he did not rape the child or intentionally cause her to lose consciousness but he does admit strangling her and then sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious.

He pleaded not guilty to one charge of attempted murder, one charge of choking the girl with the intent to commit rape and one charge of rape of a child under 13.

Richard Smith QC, defending, told the jury the boy ‘accepts he has done wrong and serious wrong, by his own pleas – two guilty of the five’.

He described the boy’s family and educational situation and said ‘he has issues in his background’.

He said the boy’s intention in grabbing the girl was to sexually touch her, not rape her, and DNA evidence on her clothes and body was a result of him masturbating earlier.

As he walked the girl away, he fell, tightening his grip on her neck causing her to lose consciousness, Mr Smith claimed.

“It is his case during the course of that falling that she inadvertently became unconscious,” he added.

He went on to describe how, once the boy had sexually assaulted her he ‘checked her pulse, went away and watched her come round before fleeing the scene’.

He told the jury: “It is hugely important where you have any person who has accepted that they have done wrong, that they are only given criminal responsibility for that which they actually did and no more.”

The trial continues.

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