Plastic bag taped round Katrina's head

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The Independent Online
A PLASTIC supermarket bag was taped around the head of Katrina Monk, the 12-year-old schoolgirl found murdered on Friday near her home in Enfield, north London, it emerged yesterday. A senior police officer said the killing was the strangest he had come across.

During an emotional press conference, Valerie Gaughan, Katrina's mother, pleaded for information to find her daughter's killer.

'My little Katrina,' she said on the verge of tears, 'has been taken from me and my family. The person who did this has not only killed my daughter, they've killed her whole family. She was happy, cheerful; a beautiful little girl, good at school.'

Det Supt Doug Harvey, who is leading the murder hunt, said no arrest was imminent. He confirmed that Katrina, who had been found with her clothing dishevelled and some underwear moved, was asphyxiated by pressure to head and neck. Police believe the body was moved to the alleyway after being killed.

Det Supt Harvey said the plastic bag had probably been tied around the girl's head after her death when Sellotape was also tied around her waist. There was no firm evidence at this stage of a sexual motive. There was no evidence to indicate that she knew her attacker. He had not previously dealt with a murder involving a plastic bag or the body being tied up afterwards.

He appealed for help in locating items which belonged to Katrina but which were not found. These include a black bomber jacket with a Union Jack badge on the left arm; a pair of black lace-up shoes; a green Enfield School blazer; and a fluorescent pink bag.

Katrina Monk did not know most of those now mourning her death. Yesterday they went in a steady, silent stream with flowers to the shabby alley where her body was found. It is a miserable, damp, dark walkway with high brick walls on each side, thick with nettles and tall weeds. It runs behind terraced houses only 100 yards from her home on Newbury Avenue. For many people, that was the worst thing: she was so close to home.

Four builders from nearby Waltham Cross left a bunch of irises. The card read: 'With deepest sympathy from four dads'.

Another bouquet carried the message: 'From regulars and staff at the Railway Inn. A tragic loss.'

Near Katrina's house, where a police van is now parked, Liam and Jay, both nine years old, were sitting on a garden wall. Liam went to the same school as Katrina and remembers that she was very popular. Liam looked at Jay and said: 'I'm not going down the alley again.'

Jay's mother added: 'It's a terrible thing to say, but at least it will frighten the kids. The two of them are always on their bikes.'

An ice-cream van nudged its way up the road and passed another group of boys perched on a wall. The van slowed but they waved it on. 'We shouldn't be happy, should we?' asked one of the boys.

(Photographs omitted)