Custody for 'evil' girls who killed pensioner

TWO TEENAGE girls strangled a half-blind pensioner with a dog chain, slashed her face with a Stanley knife and then broke eggs over her corpse while high on drink and drugs, Cardiff Crown Court was told yesterday.

Sentencing Maria Rossi and Christina Molloy to be detained indefinitely at Her Majesty's Pleasure, the judge, Mr Justice Scott Baker, branded them 'evil products of the modern age'.

Their victim, Edna Phillips, 70, had known Rossi since she was a baby. But she boasted about the murder the next day and was heard singing 'We have killed Edna' to the tune of The Wizard of Oz. Even though they had never met, Rossi infected Molloy, her best friend, with her hatred of the pensioner, a neighbour on the Penywaun estate, near Aberdare, Mid-Glamorgan.

John Rees QC, for the prosecution, said the girls 'literally butchered' Miss Phillips on a warm evening last July after drinking cider and taking drugs. Mr Justice Scott Baker told the girls, who pleaded guilty to the murder: 'No one can be other than sickened at hearing the circumstances in which you mutilated and killed a defenceless old lady who had caused no harm to anyone. If as youngsters some discipline had been imposed upon you at home, at school, or through the courts, you might not now be standing in the dock . . .'

Neighbours said the Rossi family despised Miss Phillips for her complaints about their drunkenness and loud music. After Miss Phillips reported Maria Rossi to the police, she stoned her and abused her dog. If she saw her in the street she would shout 'fucking bitch'. As she grew into her teens, her vendetta became more cruel. She smeared excrement on her house and vandalised her belongings. Events spiralled out of control when she and Molloy saw Miss Phillips walking home last July. They frogmarched her into her house.

The court was told that the girls, both then 17, pulled on either end of a dog chain to strangle the 5ft pensioner. They slashed her face in a criss-cross pattern with a Stanley knife, stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and face with a pair of scissors, ripped at her body with a jagged piece of glass, smashed eggs on her corpse and stole her pension money, vacuum cleaner and radio. When they returned home after the killing Rossi told her family: 'I've done it, I've killed Edna.'

When the girls were charged, a 300- strong mob stormed the homes of both families, smashing their windows. Both families now live at secret addresses.

Christopher Pitchford QC, for Rossi, 18, said she had shown remorse and had nightmares in which her grandmother was substituted for Miss Phillips. The court was told that she had previous convictions for theft and possession of drugs. Gerard Elias QC, for Molloy, also 18, who had two previous convictions, for assault and criminal damage, said she could not recall the murder.

A 14-year-old boy with 43 convictions, who went on the run while awaiting sentence for a sex attack on a 15- year-old girl, was warned yesterday by a judge at Durham Crown Court to change his life or end up in jail. The boy, from Newcastle upon Tyne, was arrested for the 21st time in a year hours after being freed on bail for pre-sentence reports. He now faces charges of taking a vehicle, damaging four police cars and theft. He was remanded into the care of Newcastle social services.

Police are hunting three 10-year-old boys after a woman in her 80s was knocked to the ground and robbed at Chadderton, near Oldham, last night. She was taken to Royal Oldham hospital with serious injuries.

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