Scaffolder sentenced to life for murder but body of teenage victim still missing

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A scaffolder has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old girl whose body has not been found.

A scaffolder has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old girl whose body has not been found.

Nicholas Rose, 23, was convicted of killing Charlotte Pinkney after a jury heard that the girl's blood was found on his shoe and in the car he used. Rose is thought to have sexually assaulted the girl and killed her after a party in Ilfracombe, north Devon. Police intend to ask Rose to tell them where he dumped his victim.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court told Rose yesterday he would serve a minimum of 20 years, after a majority verdict of 11 to one. The killer later collapsed. Rose, of Ilfracombe, had denied murdering Ms Pinkney in February or March last year. The girl probably died fighting for her life, during an argument with Rose about sex, Paul Dunkels QC, prosecuting, told the court.

The teenager had been out to pubs and clubs on the night of 27 February then went to a house party in Ilfracombe, where Rose was. She left about 4.30am in a borrowed red Vauxhall, driven by Rose. They were seen kissing at one stage.

Later that morning, Rose was seen cleaning the car in a tunnel near reservoirs, an area where Ms Pinkney's bag was found. He had scratches on his neck, forearm and legs, which the prosecutor said, were "typical of injuries a girl might inflict trying to protect herself".

The court heard that her blood was on the car-boot carpet, on the roof lining and on one of Rose's training shoes. A button of the type on her waistband was found in a vacuum cleaner Rose had used. One of her boots was on waste ground near Rose's home.

Ms Pinkney had lived at times with her boyfriend, Gus O'Brien, 42, in Ilfracombe, and also at the homes of her divorced parents in the town.

Rose claimed he did not have sex with the girl, and had dropped her outside the community centre in Ilfracombe and never saw her again.

But Judge Graham Cottle told him: "At some point you killed Charlotte, a killing which was completely unprovoked. I am satisfied there was a clear link between the killing and a sexual assault on her."

Earlier, the judge said the consequences of the concealment of the body in this or any case were horrendous for the relatives and close family of the dead girl. "They are denied the opportunity of their child having a proper burial," he said. "That is a huge aggravating feature." He added that Ms Pinkney's parents "can never rest until they know what happened to their child".

Rose and his family had moved to Ilfracombe from Hammersmith, London, when he was 14. He left school to become a scaffolder after sitting three GCSEs, and now has a young son by a former girlfriend. In 1999, when he was 17, he was convicted for possessing cannabis, for making two assaults on police, carrying out a burglary at a post office, and for using threats.In 2001, he was convicted of battery and damaging property, and in January last year he was banned from driving for a year due to a drink-driving offence.

His victim was described as a popular but troubled girl, who enjoyed parties and was involved with drugs. She also kept in close contact with her divorced parents and was said to love family occasions.