Hampshire schoolgirl who compiled '˜kill list' tried to murder her best friend, court told

A 14-year-old girl obsessed with serial killers prepared a '˜kill list' including the names of her friends, mother and brother before she attempted to murder her best friend by stabbing her at school, a court heard.

Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 4:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 4:44 pm
File photo of Winchester Crown Court. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA

A jury was told the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lured her friend at the start of a school day to a quiet part of the grounds where she said she was going to give her a present.

But James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that when the defendant had got her friend alone, she asked her to close her eyes and hold out her hand before she pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the chest.

The girl escaped with a minor injury as she opened her eyes and managed to pull back as she saw the defendant lunge at her, the prosecutor said.

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He told the jury that the defendant had researched fatal stab wounds in the early hours of the morning of the alleged attack at the Hampshire school on April 25.

Mr Newton-Price said: ‘The defendant was for a period of time obsessed with serial killers and school shootings and the notoriety that attaches to those who commit those crimes.

‘She had even at one stage prepared what she described in her own words as a ‘kill list’ of those she didn’t like at her school.

‘She had even thought about how to kill her own mother and brother and she discussed how to do so in the two or three weeks leading up to an incident in which she stabbed her friend at school.

‘It seems that she decided to kill her best friend. She had already researched online how to kill swiftly and effectively with a knife.

‘She carried out further research about the position of the heart and the fatality of stab wounds in the early hours leading up the incident.’

Mr Newton-Price said that the defendant had targeted the friend out of revenge for tampering with her Instagram and Tumblr social media profiles in the previous summer.

The defendant, who is now aged 15, denies charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent.

Mr Newton-Price said the defendant had told her friend she wanted to give her a present and to close her eyes and hold out her hand, but then attacked her.

He said: ‘Sometime in the early morning she sent a text message to her friend asking her to meet her at school in the morning before classes started.

‘She said she had a present to give her friend but the only present she had in mind was to stab her with a knife she had taken from her kitchen.

‘She lured her to a quiet location behind the science block just before 8.30am when the school bell rang.

‘She said she had something for her and told her to close her eyes. She then produced the kitchen knife from her bag and stabbed her in the chest.

‘The fortunate thing about it is the plan failed because the friend stepped back and opened her eyes just before or at the moment of impact.

‘The knife cut through the lapel of her school blazer and her shirt and caused a superficial puncture wound to her chest in a position above the heart.

‘Stepping back, she stumbled down steps and was able to raise the alarm. The defendant also ran away and left the premises but was brought back by her parents.’

Mr Newton-Price said the defendant denied she had tried to kill the friend but admitted that she had intended to hurt her.

He added: ‘It appears from what she says in interview she had held a grudge against her about something she had done six or nine months earlier in the summer of the year before; she had interfered with her Instagram or Tumblr social media profiles or blogs.’

Mr Newton-Price said the defendant sent her friend a message late the previous evening asking ‘Are you up?’

Then four times during the night she sent an identical message stating: ‘Tomorrow make sure you are by the normal bit by the shelter with everyone else. I need to give you something. X’

The friend replied, asking what for, and the defendant sent another message saying: ‘It’s a present and I have got to give it to you in secret. X’

Mr Newton-Price said that between 11pm and 1.20am that previous night, the defendant had made several Google searches including: ‘How to feel no guilt’, ‘How to eliminate guilt’, ‘Getting rid of your guilty conscience’, ‘Where are stab wounds fatal?’, ‘Where the heart is located’ and ‘How far in is the heart?’.

He said the defendant had previously discussed with another friend ‘plans to kill her mother and brother but a plan she switched to kill her friend instead and the evidence suggests she intended to carry out that plan’.

The prosecutor said the friend had been completely unaware of the defendant’s intentions as she believed they were friends.

He said: ‘She thought it was some kind of joke, she didn’t expect anything bad to happen at all, she was getting a bit anxious thinking it was a bit odd, she completely trusted her.

‘She was expecting to be getting some kind of present about to be put into her hand. The defendant told her “Close your eyes and put your hands out”. She duly put out her hands and closed her eyes.

‘She opened her eyes just a little and it’s a good thing she did as she saw her friend with a knife.’

Mr Newton-Price said the defendant had been particularly obsessed by the 1970s American serial killer Ted Bundy and had even done a fashion project based on him.

She had also done internet research on serial killers and school shootings including the Columbine massacre in Colorado in 1999.

He said she had planned a school shooting that had been due to take place in January and she had created a list of intended targets which contained 60 names.

She told police after her arrest: ‘I didn’t have any particular targets, I would just shoot one or two.’

The prosecutor said another friend said the defendant sent her messages in which she described how she planned to duct tape her mother’s mouth as she lay in bed and to slit her throat before killing her brother on the night before the school incident.

The defendant had also sent another message to the other friend saying that ‘she was expendable, she didn’t want a normal life, she wanted fame, she wanted people to know her.’

Mr Newton-Price said that this friend was ‘a bit worried about the tone of the conversation, she didn’t take it seriously but she was concerned about it.’

He said the defendant had denied that she planned to kill people, only to hurt them.

She told police: ‘I guess not really killing people but maiming, maiming them, hurting them with a knife.’

She added: ‘When I was having these thoughts I was being influenced by another voice. I was getting quite heavily influenced. That is the reason I was having these thoughts. I do not know what was spurring me on.’

Mr Newton-Price said as well as the messages detailing her plans, the defendant had ‘joked about pleading insanity’.

He added: ‘The disturbing aspect of this case is that having undertaken that research and taken a knife from her kitchen, she actually tried to activate her plan.’

He told the jury that the defendant had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful wounding and possession of a bladed article on school premises.

The victim, aged 15, described the moment of the attack in a video interview played to the court.

She said: ‘I closed my eyes. I opened them a little bit and she had a knife in her hand and she kind of lunged at me. I felt it nick at me.

‘I was kind of freaking out, I was screaming, I leant back, I think that’s why it didn’t go in any deeper.

‘I was in complete shock. I leaped off, fell down the steps, then I fell over. She was coming down the steps after me. When I was on the floor she was still coming. I sprinted off.’

The schoolgirl, who said that they had been best friends, added: ‘It was shocking, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I can’t think of any reason why she would have done it.’

She described how the defendant had been depressed, self-harming and suffering from self-harming during the previous summer.

She continued: ‘She was kind of quite Gothy, into satanism, that kind of thing. She would laugh about it. I would never look. It was quite shocking. She would show us what she followed, these messed up horrific sites, she would show us then laugh about them. She would watch lots of horror movies.’

She added: ‘She would watch snuff movies, she would talk to us as if it was normal. I thought it was her trying to make herself look hard.’

She continued: ‘I am also worried about her. She is still my friend. She has been watching something or something has made her want to stab me.’