Babysitter and child `killed by sex attacker'

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A man who went searching for a woman ended up going to the house where his girlfriend's daughter was baby-sitting, sexually attacking the girl then murdering her and the child she was looking after to ensure their silence, a court was told yesterday.

But Tariq Rehman cut himself on scissors he used in his frenzied attacks on Rachel Rooney, aged 15, and seven-year-old Jonathan Copley, Mr Paul Worsley QC, for the prosecution, told Leeds Crown Court. DNA tests showed the chances were 50 million to one that blood in the house came from anybody else. Mr Rehman denies both murders.

Mr Worsley said the murders happened as Rachel was baby-sitting Jonathan at his family home in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on 18 February last year.

Pakistani-born Mr Rehman, who lived with Rachel and her mother, Christina Rooney, and was to all intents and purposes Rachel's "stepfather", had been to a wedding in Pudsey Civic Hall that day. He left the celebration in the evening and went to a number of addresses in search of a woman's company.

Mr Rehman, a manager at Britannia Assurance, in Keighley, drove to one woman friend's home but she was out. He then visited the home of another "stepdaughter", Sharon, but did not go in. He then went to where Rachel was baby-sitting.

"He knew where Rachel was that night and that she would be alone apart from Jonathan, who would be in bed," Mr Worsley said.

Once inside the house, Mr Rehman tied Rachel's hands behind her back with abootlace before threatening her with the scissors and sexually assaulting her in Jonathan's bedroom, Mr Worsley told the jury.

Blood and saliva found on Rachel's body matched that of the defendant, he said. Mr Rehman then killed Rachel and Jonathan because they could identify him, he said.

Rachel suffered 48 stab wounds and Jonathan had 15 separate injuries. Both had also had their throats slit. The scissors had broken in the viciousattack and Mr Rehman cut his hand on the blade.

Mr Worsley said blood matching Mr Rehman's DNA profile was found around the house and on both victims' bodies and clothing.

A match was also found on the scissors, which were found in the freezer, "an unusual place and one used by the defendant at his home to hide his keys", Mr Worsley said.

Members of Jonathan's family found the bodies when they returned home shortly after midnight.

Christina Rooney found Mr Rehman asleep on her sofa at home when she returned at 3am, Mr Worsley said. He told her he had cut himself while walking the dog and they went to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where he was given six stitches.

But when arrested by police, he said he could not remember what had happened after he left the house of one of the women he had tried to visit. He told them: "I'm completely blank. I can't remember a period of time but I know I wouldn't kill Rachel - I couldn't kill my own daughter." The trial continues.