Girl accused of stabbing `admitted killing to police'

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A teenage girl accused of murdering the 18-year-old hairdresser, Katie Rackliff, admitted the killing to police then later retracted the statement, a court heard yesterday.

The girl, who is now 17 but was 12 at the time of the killing in June 1992 and cannot be named for legal reasons, denies murder. Winchester Crown Court also heard that the girl told a probation officer that she herself was frightened of being stabbed.

"When I die, someone will have to shoot me, because I couldn't be stabbed," she is reported to have told a probation officer, Sarah Brydon. "She said, `It must be awful, knowing what's happening'," Ms Brydon told the court.

Ms Rackliff, from Hawley in Hampshire, died from 29 stab wounds, including injuries to her genitals. She had spent the last evening of her life at a nightclub called Ragamuffins in Camberley, Surrey, and was found the next morning in a street in Farnborough, Hants.

The court heard the killing remained a mystery until early in 1996 when as a result of matters which came to light, the accused girl was interviewed by police at a young offenders' institution where she was in custody.

She admitted the killing to police, but then later retracted her admissions. Yesterday Ms Brydon talked about her conversations with the accused. In one, she said the girl told her she was not sorry for Ms Rackliff's parents, "because they're old".

Ms Brydon said: "She said she had enough of her own problems with her own mother, without feeling sorry for them. She said she would be willing to say she was sorry for what happened to Katie, but in reality she never would be."

Annette Cini, a prison officer, earlier told the court that the accused girl told her on 16 January last year that she had murdered someone in 1992.

She told Ms Cini she was with two boys and they picked up Katie, who was hitchhiking, and she stabbed her in the back of the car.

Mrs Cini said the accused girl told her the three realised that the victim was dead, and the two boys then raped the girl and disposed of the body.

However, the prosecution has said there was no sign of a sexual assault by a man, and although there must have been at least one other person and a vehicle involved, there was no evidence to base an accusation against anyone else of complicity in the murder.

The case was adjourned until today.