How ex-soldier told horrific story of night in the park in harrowing 999 call

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The Independent Online

The first person to hear of the murder of Mary-Ann Leneghan was the ex-soldier Desmond Goddard. As he walked along Tilehurst Road in Reading on his way to work early on the morning of 7 May last year, he came across the terrified figure of Mary-Ann Leneghan's friend as she staggered out of Prospect Park minutes after she survived being shot.

In a 20-minute call to a 999 operator, Mr Goddard relays the first details of a night of rape, torture and murder as the girl blurts out her story.

The call, played in full to the jury at Reading Crown Court, begins as Mr Goddard explains that he has found a young woman who has been shot, crying that her friend has been stabbed in the park.

Mr Goddard: "Said her head hurts ... it must hurt, it's about, there's a bruise about the size of an apple on it."

Operator: "OK."

Mr Goddard: "Well it's, the blood is [inaudible]."

Operator: "Right but there is blood coming from her own head, yeah?"

Mr Goddard: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's definitely blood on, there's blood running down her face."

Girl: "I've been stabbed as well."

Mr Goddard: "Oh, she's been stabbed as well ..."

Girl: "There."

Mr Goddard: "Where?"

Girl: "Cut and stabbed everywhere."

Mr Goddard: "She's been stabbed as well, she says."

Mr Goddard [to girl]: "Try to keep calm."

Girl: [inaudible] ... "everywhere."

Mr Goddard: "Oh God."

Operator: "What's she saying?"

Mr Goddard: "She's saying her friend's going to die, she's bleeding every ... she's been cut everywhere."

Operator: "Blood everywhere."

Girl: "In her face."

Mr Goddard: "In her face and stomach, she said."

Operator: "In her stomach."

Mr Goddard: "Yeah, face, stomach and chest. That's her friend."

Girl: "When they coming?"

Mr Goddard: "They're coming now, darling, honestly. They're on their way."

Operator: "Any idea who it was?"

Girl: "Cut off my hair and everything."

Mr Goddard: "Oh God. They tried to shave her head by the look of it."

Operator: "They tried to shave her head."

Mr Goddard: "They cut your leg as well, did they?"

Girl: "Everywhere's cut."

The girl goes on to say she believes there were around five attackers.

Ten minutes into the call, the girl tells Mr Goddard she has been raped. Learning that a firearm was involved, the operator tries to gather more details.

Operator: I know that she's in real stress, could you just try and ask her how long ago she thinks this happened?"

Mr Goddard: "How long did this happen, darling?"

Girl: "About, I got drugged, it's been happening for hours, all night."

The operator explains that because a gun has been mentioned the area is being searched, with an ambulance waiting nearby. Almost 16 minutes into the call, Mr Goddard learns that the other girl [Mary-Ann] is only 16.

Mr Goddard: "Her friend's 16, oh, please get them out now because ..."

Girl: "Please hurry up."

Mr Goddard: "I'm starting to lose it a little bit."

Operator: "Okay, Okay, Okay. Just a moment, they're here, nearly there aren't they. Right. Ambulance, where are they holding off? Right, so they'll be there in a few minutes, won't they?"

Mr Goddard: "Right, you see, I'm starting to lose it myself, sorry."

Twenty minutes into the call, Mr Goddard finally sees the first police car and hangs up.

Operator [aside as he hangs up]: "Fucking hell."