Teenager cleared of trying to murder parents
A SCHOOLGIRL who filmed herself as she tried to strangle and stab her parents, was cleared of their attempted murders. The 16 year old girl was found guilty instead of attempting to choke, suffocate and strangle her mother with intent and unlawfully
Report by ANGELA SINGER
A troubled schoolgirl who filmed herself as she tried to strangle her mother and then stab her father was today/yesterday (Fri) told by a judge he will do everything in his power to help her.
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth made his remarks after a jury found the youngster not guilty of attempting to murder her parents.
Instead the 16 year old was convicted of a charge of attempting to choke, suffocate and strangle her mother and attempting to unlawfully wound her dad
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Adjourning the case for reports the judge at Cambridge crown court told the jury it had been an "extraordinary and difficult case"
Addressing the eight men and four women but making sure his words could be heard by the girl, he said This court recognises that this young lady is in need of help and support and this court is going to do all in its power to bring that about"
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He added "This is not a case in my judgement where the only issue is punishment."
The girl was remanded to a secure psychiatric unit for teenagers until her sentence.
Before leaving court she was hugged by her mother and father who had been in the public gallery and who during the trial had given evidence against her.
It was following an argument with her father last February that the girl, then 15, came into the living room from her bedroom at the family's home in St Neot's, Cambridgeshire.
She had with her a video recorder which she set up on the arm of a chair so that it was trained on her mum who was sitting at a computer.
The girl, described as highly intelligent and theatrical, with a keen interest in film making, drama and writing, had dressed herself especially for the occasion,
She was wearing a seductive strappy silk nightdress for what the prosecution was to describe in court as "the performance of her life."
She had brushed out her long brown hair and applied make up to make herself look glamorous film star.
The girl had with her a noose made from two dressing gown cords with which to strangle her mother and a pair of scissors to stab her father.
The chilling video was played to the jury at the start of the trial when she pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempting to murder her parents, both I.T. workers. She also denied a charge of attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle her mother with intent and attempting to unlawfully wound her father with intent. She has admitted two counts of common assault on her parents.
In the video, which the jury saw, the girl first delivered a chilling speech to the camera in her bedroom in which which she discussed her plan to kill her parents.
Shortly before there had been a blazing row between her and her dad about her habit of eating food from a small child's plastic bowl. She had ended up in tears and gone to her bedroom.
She says on the video "I made this film so that no one could say it was only manslaughter, or self defence or anything else. I want full credit for this. I murdered them."
The teenager then took the camera downstairs to the living room and set it up so that it was pointing at her mother sitting at the computer unaware of what was about to happen.
In the film, the commentary from a televised rugby match could be heard and her father was laying on a sofa nearby watching the Saturday night Six Nations game between England and Wales.
As the film continued, the girl walked up to her mother, and standing directly behind her looped a length of dressing gown cord around her neck.
At first, the mother said "What are you doing? That is not very funny." The teenager replied "It's not meant to be funny." As the film continued, the girl pulled the cord tight.
Moments later, the mother said "Then stop doing it, let go." Her daughter replied "No I am not going to let go." By now, the mother had swivelled around in her chair to face the daughter, who still had the cord tight around her neck.
The mother then said to the girl "You are strangling me" and calling her husband's name out loud she tells him "She is strangling me." The figure of the father appeared in view as he made his way towards his wife and daughter with his back to the camera.
As he faced his daughter there was a sudden movement and he screams out "You tried to stab me! You tried to stab me!"
John Farmer prosecuting told the jury at the start of the trial "It is perhaps a horrifying thought that a child may wish to kill her parents. A horrifying thought it may be, but unhappily it has happened here. This was a completely measured cold blooded plan."
The girl lived with her parents and sister in the market town of St Neots.
Mr Farmer described the defendant as "highly intelligent," in full-time education and with a considerable interest in making films.
He said up in her bedroom as she prepared for the attack, in addition to making the video, she also typed out on her computer her plan of how she would attack her parents as her sister looked on.
It included a passage "Go in, nothing strange, set up the camera, loop mums head and pull. Dad will come to help her, I will stab".
The prosecutor said "She had worked out if two people are in the room, there can be difficulties, so she worked out a sequence of strangling her mother which actually would lure out her father, which is what happened."
Her plan failed, he said, because the scissors she attacked her father with were not sharp enough to cause any injury and he was able to wrestle them off her.
Back in her bedroom following the attack she wrote down on her computer "I am disappointed that the plan failed. I should have been quicker. The scissors weren't good enough. A knife would have worked. I will have to try again."
Consultant psychiatrist Richard Bevington who following the incident had a number of consultations with the girl said she had never expressed any remorse for what she had done to her parents during the time he saw her.
He said she had also experienced a feeling of "power" over them which he told the court "she didn't find unappealing."
Giving evidence the girl claimed she had been troubled by a voice inside her head since she was 12 or 13 and she had sought counselling.
On the day in question she said the voice had commanded her to kill her parents.
She said the voice gave her an image of her mother dead with a noose around her neck and her father with a knife in his chest.
The girl said she had never intended to kill her parents, but wanted them to see something was wrong.
She admitted she had no emotional bond or feelings of warmth for her parents.
Outside the court Detective Sergeant Emma Compson who investigated the case said "This has been a particularly difficult investigation for all concerned where the family have been placed in a terrible position having been compelled to give evidence against their own daughter. In this case there are no winners but a serious crime was committed and needed to be put before the court."