Teenage boy jailed for raping unconscious 10-year-old girl on way home from school

Boy was previously acquitted by trying to kill girl after attack

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 07 November 2019 20:04
The attack happened in Marley Road, Exmouth
The attack happened in Marley Road, Exmouth

A teenager who violently raped a 10-year-old girl as she walked home from school has been jailed.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, choked his victim unconscious before launching the sex attack and then left her in a stream.

He was jailed for seven years and two months at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday.

“You violated her in the most ugly and cruel way,” Mrs Justice May told the boy.

“After raping her, you stayed for a short while before leaving her in that state - half in and half out of the water, soaking wet. Why on earth did you do it?”

The boy had admitted charges of rape, choking the girl with intent to commit sexual assault and sexual assault over the attack in Exmouth, Devon.

The judge also imposed an extended sentence of eight years on licence, which the boy will serve after his release from prison.

The court heard the teenager, then aged 16, was cycling home when he saw the girl in a grassy area, close to a riverbank covered in trees, on 4 October last year.

The schoolgirl had taken her phone out to call her mother as she made her way home when she heard footsteps running behind her.

The boy grabbed her, throwing her phone into nearby bushes, and dragged her down a bank to the stream.

He choked her and raped her after she fell unconscious, then fled.

Members of the public heard the disorientated girl calling out for a teacher and helped her from the stream, with police called a short time later.

The attacker was identified after a witness came forward in response to a police appeal.

The court heard the boy had told a psychiatrist that he was “angry, full of resentment and wanted to cause damage” to another person.

He believed attacking a person in a sexual manner would cause “the most psychological harm”, Mrs Justice May said.

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“You took steps to inflict the most damage you could on a young person much smaller than you,” she told the boy.

“You used a great deal of force on her and you were aware of the impact of your actions.”

He was initially charged with attempted murder, but acquitted by a jury at his first trial in March.

Jurors could not reach a verdict on the rape charge, which the boy admitted on the first day of his re-trial in July.

A defence lawyer said the boy, who has autism, had an “extraordinarily difficult” childhood and had acted “impulsively”.

“He feels very clearly remorseful for the hurt that he has caused, not just to the girl but her family,” Richard Smith said.

Police praised the victim and her family for their “remarkable courage and strength”.

Det Insp Steve Davies, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Understandably, this case has had an impact on everyone involved, including my investigation team, most of whom are parents themselves.

“We hope the sentence today provides the opportunity for the victim and her family, who have remained so composed and dignified throughout the legal process, to start to look forward.”

Additional reporting by PA