Gang 'told teenage victim she was going to be killed' before murder

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The Independent Online

The murdered teenager Mary-Ann Leneghan was told she was going to die throughout a terrifying ordeal of rape and torture before her killing, a court was told yesterday.

The 16-year-old, who was stabbed to death in Reading's Prospect Park on 7 May last year, was abducted by a gang of men and tortured, a jury at Reading Crown Court was told.

An 18-year-old friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also put through the ordeal and shot in the head, but "miraculously" survived, the court heard.

Richard Latham QC told the jury that six men had been jointly charged for the acts. Highlighting the repeated assaults and enforced smoking of heroin and crack cocaine, Mr Latham added: "Most seriously, they were told throughout that they were going to die that night."

Adrian Thomas, 20, of Battersea, south London; Llewellyn Adams, 24, of Balham; 18-year-old Indrit Krasniqi, of Chiswick; 19-year-old Michael Johnson of Southfields; and brothers Jamaile and Joshua Morally, 23 and 22, of Balham, all deny a total of nine counts of murder, attempted murder, kidnap, rape and grievous bodily harm. Jamaile Morally also denies a further charge of raping Mary-Ann.

Mr Latham told the jury that the friends were bundled into the boot of a red Nissan Almera outside the Wallingford Arms pub in Reading and driven to the town's Abbey guesthouse.

He said: "For the next few hours they were seriously assaulted, they were raped, both vaginally and orally, they were made to smoke heroin and crack cocaine and, most seriously of all, they were told throughout that they were going to die that night when the men had finished with them."

He said the girls were then taken to Prospect Park, where a pillow was placed over Mary-Ann's head and she was stabbed to death. A pillow was also placed over her friend's head and a gun was discharged. "She was instantly unconscious and she was left for dead," Mr Latham said. "Miraculously the bullet did not kill her. It was she who raised the alarm asking for the assistance of a passer-by."

Mr Latham said the alleged attacks had been "revenge" for "setting up" one of their number in a robbery the previous month

Thomas had begun renting a top-floor flat, on Oxford Road in Reading, last April, using the name Michael Brown.

Whilst living at this address, he had become known to Mary-Ann and her 18-year-old friend, the jury heard.

Mr Latham told the jury: "It is highly likely that the origins of this incident (the issues being tried) arises out of an incident at the flat on 18/19 April."

Thomas was assaulted and robbed of his belongings at the Oxford Road flat that night, the court heard.

The following day one of his neighbours treated him after seeing his cuts and one eye swollen shut, Mr Latham said.

He said this neighbour was told by Thomas: "I have been set up. That bitch set me up. She must have left the door open."

The case continues.