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Girl, 16, locked up for life for manslaughter of seven-year-old Katie Rough

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 24/11/2017 Hatty Collier
a little girl smiling at the camera © Provided by Independent Print Limited

A girl of 16 has been given a life sentence for killing seven-year-old Katie Rough in an alleyway near a park in York.

The girl smothered young Katie to death before slashing her with a knife.

She was handed a life sentence for manslaughter today and was ordered to be detained for a minimum of five years by a judge at Leeds Crown Court.

Police search a path leading to the field where the body of seven-year-old Katie Rough was found in the Woodthorpe area of York © PA Police search a path leading to the field where the body of seven-year-old Katie Rough was found in the Woodthorpe area of York

Katie was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a field in the Woodthorpe area of York on January 9 and did not respond to frantic attempts to revive her.

But a judge heard earlier this year that she actually died from being smothered by her teenager attacker.

At that earlier hearing, the court heard that the teenager was found standing in a cul-de-sac in a York suburb, covered in blood and carrying a blood-stained Stanley knife as she rang 999 to tell police what she had done.

File photo of the coffin of Katie Rough leaving York Minster following her funeral service. © PA File photo of the coffin of Katie Rough leaving York Minster following her funeral service.

The judge was told she may have been trying to prove Katie was not a robot as she had "irrational beliefs".

He heard that the girl began suffering from mental health problems more than a year before the killing.

Prosecutors said she had reported delusional thoughts as well as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Paul and Alison Rough (centre), parents of murdered York schoolgirl Katie Rough, arrive at York Minster with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu for her funeral service. © PA Paul and Alison Rough (centre), parents of murdered York schoolgirl Katie Rough, arrive at York Minster with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu for her funeral service.

They said the girl had talked of being convinced that people "weren't human and were robots".

The previous hearing was told that the girl became distressed when one doctor asked her later "whether she killed Katie to test whether she was a robot".

Nicholas Johnson QC, defending, told the last hearing it may be that his client was "driven by the irrational belief (Katie) may not have been human and needed proof of this".

The grandparents of Katie Rough leave York Magistrates Court © PA The grandparents of Katie Rough leave York Magistrates Court

He said the teenager had thoughts that people around her "may not be human and may be controlled by a higher and hostile force".

The barrister said his client had posted a picture on social media two days before the killing with a concerning message.

He said: "She was clearly crying out for help and support."

The girl denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility at the hearing in July.

This plea was accepted by the prosecution.

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