Man jailed for life for torture, rape and murder of niece, 12

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The Independent Online

A man obsessed with violent child porn and "snuff" videos was told he must spend the rest of his life in jail today after admitting the horrific torture, rape and murder of his 12-year-old niece.

Unemployed John Maden, 38, lured Tia Rigg to his home on the pretext of babysitting, but he drugged her and acted out his sick fantasies on the unsuspecting youngster, inflicting horrific sexual injuries before stabbing her and strangling her with a guitar wire.

He carried out the attack on the afternoon of April 3 at his home in Dalmain Close, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, and then called police, appearing "chillingly calm" when he answered the door to officers who raced to the scene.

Maden had an obsessive interest in pornography relating to paedophilia, rape and torture, keeping an "enormous pile" of the material at his home.

From his mobile phone, police recovered folders of rape and torture entitled "snuff", "snuff stories" and "brutal rape".

Maden, the brother of Tia's mother Lynne Rigg, was due to go on trial at Manchester Crown Court for murder but pleaded guilty instead.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Keith said that in his case the mandatory life sentence for murder must mean just that - and he will never be released.

The judge said: "It is inescapable that Tia Rigg died because you decided to realise your fantasies about torturing and killing a young child.

"The fact that you chose your 12-year-old niece, who had put her trust in you, makes what you did all the more unspeakable, as was the fact that all of this was planned by you and you lured her into your home by pretending you wanted her to babysit for you.

"It is difficult to know how long Tia's ordeal lasted.

"The terror, the unimaginable pain you inflicted on her, the indignities you subjected her ... while still alive.

"This was an horrific crime in which a young girl who had everything to live for and placed her trust in you was inveigled into your lair. It was planned, it was premeditated and her agony must have been prolonged.

"This is one of those exceptional cases in which the only just punishment requires you to be imprisoned for the rest of your life."

Speaking after the case, Tia's mother Ms Rigg said: "Tia was my baby girl. She was always happy and never sad. She brought a smile to everyone who she met. Tia was loved by everyone, family and friends, but to me she wasn't just my daughter, she was my best friend.

"When this nightmare happened, it killed me inside. My heart has been broken and will never mend. All that is left is a big empty hole. For me, this nightmare will never end but now justice has been done, at least Tia can rest in peace.

"Tia was my whole world. I love her so much, she was my life. I miss her big smile every morning and her beautiful freckly face. She always laughed when I said that.

"Not a day goes by when I don't think of her. I love and miss her so much and always will."

Detective Chief Inspector David Warren, who led the investigation for Greater Manchester Police, said: "We will never know why Maden killed his niece.

"What I do know is that he has caused a great deal of suffering to someone he was supposed to love.

"Tia was a bright young girl who had her whole life ahead of her.

"She trusted her uncle and thought she was going to his house to babysit.

"He not only caused suffering to Tia but also to her family.

"He's refused to try and ease some of the pain by telling anyone why he did this and that has added to their upset.

"He will now have a long time to reflect on what he has done."

Earlier Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting, told the court Tia was murdered purely for sexual gratification, so Maden could act out his perverted fantasies.

Police found stories taken from something called the "Snuffing Handbook".

On the day of the murder, Maden called his sister at 2.17pm to ask Tia to go to his house.

Ms Rigg last saw her daughter alive in Cheetham Hill.

Tia arrived at the defendant's house just before 3pm, with Maden then free to act out his "sexual fantasy" to kill her.

Just 45 minutes later, Maden called police, with two officers arriving at the address two minutes later. He directed them upstairs.

In a spare bedroom, Tia was found lying face-up on the floor, naked apart from a pair of socks, and clearly dead.

Near her body were two knives, a broom handle and a sex toy, all stained with Tia's blood.

There was a ligature around her neck and her hands were tied behind her back with shoelaces.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Tia had been stabbed in the abdomen and suffered severe internal injuries, some of which had been inflicted while she was still alive.

Her injuries led to severe blood loss but the "predominant" cause of death was ligature strangulation.

The girl's mother and other family members wept silently, heads bowed and covering their faces with their hands as the details were given to the court.

Toxicology tests revealed an anti-psychotic drug, Olanzapine, prescribed to the defendant, was present in her blood, which would have had a sedative effect.

Maden was arrested and later told police he heard "voices - one good voice and one bad voice - in his head" but admitted the rape and murder of his niece.

"He said the voice, the bad voice, had been controlling him and telling him what to do," Mr Cole said.

Maden, dressed in a black shirt, paisley tie and green jacket and carrying an A4 folder, sat impassively in the dock as details of the injuries he inflicted on his niece were read out in court.

He made no reaction as he was told he must spend the rest of his life behind bars.