Vicar forgives bullies who drove daughter to death

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The Independent Online

Two teenage girls who bullied and beat up a vicar’s daughter shortly before she threw herself out of a third floor window were today found guilty of causing her death.

Rosimeiri Boxall, 19, died in May last year after leaping from a building in Blackheath, south east London, to escape the physical and verbal abuse dealt out by the girls, who were then aged 17 and 13.

Kemi Ajose, now 19, of Charlton, south east London, and Hatice Can, now 15, of Belvedere, south-east London, were found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey yesterday. During the trial, the pair blamed each other for encouraging Miss Boxall to jump when she had climbed up to the kitchen window to escape their attacks. Witnesses said Can then shouted insults at the teenager as she lay dying.

Miss Boxall, who used to be a good friend of Ajose’s, had gone to stay at her flat which she had received under a social services scheme on 17 May. Also staying in the flat was Can, who had run away from home.

An argument broke out between Can and Miss Boxall over Shane Francis, 20, whom they both liked, which soon escalated to involve Ajose. Can and Ajose had been drinking vodka, and the disagreement turned violent, with Ajose hitting Miss Boxall as Can shouted encouragement. The younger girl then rang Mr Francis and told him: “Your girl is getting beat”.

Part of the attack on Miss Boxall – in which she was slapped, punched and had hairspray aimed at her face – was filmed on a mobile phone by a neighbour and played to the jury. Can admitted assaulting Miss Boxall, but both girls said they were not there when she jumped to her death a short time later. After her arrest, Ajose said Miss Boxall had asked Can: “Do you want me to jump?” and the 13-year-old replied: “Yes”.

Roger Smart, prosecuting, said: “Rosie leapt to her death from the kitchen window of Kemi’s flat to escape from a prolonged period of physical and verbal abuse. Immediately before Rosie fell, she was clearly in fear of being hurt physically. This fear caused her to leap out of the window, as a result of which she met her death.”

The court heard that as she lay dying of multiple injuries, Can picked up Miss Boxall’s mobile phone and, after throwing it back down, said: “Serves you right, bitch”.

The jury deliberated for three days, time which Can spent talking to friends on her phone and trying on her barrister’s wig. However, when the verdict was read out she burst into tears and walked sobbing to the cells with two dock officers after hugging her mother. Ajose was remanded to a psychiatric hospital where she is being detained, while Can was taken into the care of her local authority. The pair will be sentenced on 15 December.

Video: Two guilty over girl's death plunge

Miss Boxall was adopted aged three by her missionary parents, after being abandoned in an orphanage in Brazil by her mother, who was an alcoholic. After the family returned to England in 2005, she found it difficult to settle in at school and left home the year before she died.

Outside court, the Rev Simon Boxall and his wife Rachel said he forgave the two girls who had caused his adopted daughter’s death. The couple said in a statement: “Our prayer has always been that justice for Rosi would be seen to be done. We still miss her greatly, but we do not for an instant regret the decision we took, when she was almost three, to adopt her.

“She has given us so many moments of pure joy, and we are thankful for those times. We are sure that she is now safe in God the Father’s arms. Noone can ever hurt her again. It will be wonderful to see her again one day. We continue to pray for those who are responsible for Rosi’s death. We want them to know that we forgive them.”