Tributes paid to teenage stab victim


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The Independent Online

The parents of a 13-year-old girl who died after being stabbed have paid tribute to her as "the most beautiful, intelligent and bright young girl".

Casey-Lyanne Kearney was found lying fatally injured in Elmfield Park, Doncaster, on Tuesday afternoon after dialling 999 for help. She was taken to hospital but later died.

Hannah Bonser, 26, today appeared at Doncaster Magistrates' Court charged with her murder and was remanded in custody.

Casey-Lyanne's parent said in a statement: "Losing Casey has been so painful words cannot begin to explain.

"She was the most beautiful, intelligent and bright young girl with her whole life ahead of her. We need time alone with family and friends to start to come to terms with our loss."

The teenager's relatives listened in the court's public gallery, some sobbing, as the details of the case against Bonser were outlined.

The defendant, who has brown, shoulder-length hair, was wearing a dark blue T-shirt which concealed a tattoo on her left arm.

She nodded to confirm her name and date of birth, gave her address as Cusworth House, Doncaster, and listened as the murder charge was put to her, along with a separate charge of possessing two knives.

For most of the 15-minute hearing she looked at the floor, occasionally glancing upwards as the prosecutor read out details of the case.

Magistrates remanded her in custody and she will next appear at Sheffield Crown Court on February 23.

Casey-Lyanne had left her home in Rossington at around midday on Tuesday and caught the bus to Doncaster town centre where she was going to meet a friend, but never arrived.

It has emerged that she called police and a passer-by phoned for an ambulance, but despite their efforts she died in hospital hours later.

Her friend Alisha Leggot told ITV News: "I rang a few times, I left some voicemails to tell her to contact us because we were worried about her.

"But we knew what had gone off in the park and I think one of us literally had a feeling that something had gone wrong but I just didn't want to believe it.

"Everyone was saying it was Casey on Facebook and then I got in last night and turned on the news because we knew it would be on there and I saw Casey's picture and it just broke me.

"I don't really know what to do."

South Yorkshire Police have described the incident as a "random, isolated attack" and appealed for people to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Terry Mann said officers were attempting to establish the teenager's movements after she left her home in Rossington at around midday on Tuesday.

He appealed for any members of the public who were in or near the park at lunchtime on Tuesday and either saw anything suspicious or Casey-Lyanne herself, to contact police, adding that the family had been left traumatised by the death.

He said: "They are a loving family. It is a very, very sad case. They are very traumatised by this, as you can imagine."

Catherine Brown, head teacher at McAuley Catholic High School, issued a statement on behalf of the governing body, staff and pupils.

It said: "The whole school community of McAuley Catholic High School is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Casey Kearney, a pupil in year 9, in such tragic circumstances.

"Casey was a valued member of her form and year group and will be sadly missed by friends, pupils and staff.

"We are all thinking of her family and friends at this time.

"We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Monday where there will be appropriate support for them."