Inquest told of wounds inflicted on burnt girl, 16

The appalling injuries suffered by Suzanne Capper, 16, were described to a coroner's court yesterday. The girl died in hospital last month after suffering 75-80 per cent burns consistent with having petrol thrown over her and set alight.

The court was told that Suzanne, from Moston, Manchester, had only a 'minimal' chance of survival and she died on 18 December, four days after being admitted to hospital. She had been so badly burnt that she could be identified only from fingerprints.

Dr William Lawler, a Home Office pathologist, said two of Suzanne's incisor teeth had been forcibly extracted, an abrasion on her nose could have been caused by a cigarette burn inflicted before her death and scratches and cuts covered several areas of her body.

These could have been caused by bramble bushes in the area where she was found, but he believed most were a result of a vigorous scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush.

Dr Lawler told the Manchester hearing that Suzanne died from complications caused by the burns. Her scalp, eyebrows and pubic hair had been recently shaved or burned.

Detective Inspector Peter Wall told the inquest that six people, including two women and a 16-year- old boy, had been charged in connection with her death.

The six, charged with kidnap and murder, are due to appear before magistrates in Manchester on 17 February for committal to crown court.

Before adjourning the inquest, Leonard Gorodkin, the coroner, said: 'It is clear that this young girl must have suffered tremendously. She must have suffered a great deal of pain and a lot of suffering and she had no chance of survival.'

Elizabeth Capper, Suzanne's mother, told the inquest that she had last seen her daughter less than two weeks before her death.

She had just moved back to live with her stepfather in Moston.

The coroner said Suzanne's death had attracted wide national interest.

'It stems not only from a deep feeling of sympathy for the family but also from a tremendous feeling of revulsion for the circumstances we have heard about.'

Mr Gorodkin told Mrs Capper: 'I offer you not just on my behalf but on behalf of the whole nation my very deepest sympathy and condolences at this tragic happening to your young daughter.'

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