Girls accused of funfair killing

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The Independent Online
Two girls, one aged 12 and the other aged 13, were yesterday accused of the manslaughter of Louise Allen.

Louise, 13, died following an incident near a funfair on Monday night in Corby, Northamptonshire. Her parents, John and Ellen Allen, gave permission for her life-support machine at Kettering General Hospital to be switched off on Tuesday afternoon.

Last night, Northamptonshire Police dismissed reports that Louise had been kicked by a mob of up to 30 girls as "unsubstantiated". A post-mortem examination yesterday revealed she died of an injury to her head and upper body.

The accused teenagers appeared before Kettering youth court in a 40-minute hearing. June Eastwood, the presiding magistrate, rejected their applications for bail and said they must live in secure accommodation, provided by the authority. They are to appear before the court again on 7 May.

The girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, each spoke only once to confirm they understood what was happening.

Both sat with their parents and were dressed in sweat-shirts, tracksuit bottoms and training shoes.

Louise's great-grandmother, Bridget McBride, last night told of the family's anguish. "It was just awful to see that wee lassie lying there. Her hair was all around her and there wasn't a mark on her face," she said.

"It was heartbreaking, especially for her mother - Ellen is in a terrible state, on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

Mrs McBride said: "She keeps thinking Louise is just going to come home.

"She was such a quiet wee girl. She was never the sort to get into a fight.

"After school she told her mammy she was going with her friend to look at the fair for a little while.

"We have been told she saw her friend being hurt by some other girls. Her last words were, 'Leave her alone' - then they turned on her."

A Mass in Louise's memory is to be held at her school, Our Lady and Pope John School, in Corby tonight. Yesterday, the school's headmaster, James Platt, said the grief at the school was "tangible". He described Louise as a normal young teenager who loved netball, rounders and tennis.

Mr Platt said many children had stayed at home. Teachers suspended lessons in Louise's class because they felt fellow pupils could not cope with the normal school routine.

The parish priest who gave Louise the last rites said her family were devastated. Father Wilson, of St Brendan's Church, said: "Louise was a person you could always rely on ... other kids used to look up to her."

An inquest into Louise's death is to be opened on Friday at Northampton Coroner's Court.

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