Park rapist, 17, guilty of paving slab mur­der bid

Western Mail - - NEWS - Matthew Cooper news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A“BAR­BARIC and wicked” rapist who blud­geoned a woman with a paving slab on his 17th birth­day and then left her for dead has been found guilty of at­tempted mur­der.

A judge ruled that Char­lie John Pearce’s iden­tity should be re­vealed to the pub­lic af­ter the teenager – who “came within a hair’s breadth” of killing his vic­tim – was unan­i­mously con­victed at Le­ices­ter Crown Court.

Jurors were told that Pearce searched for in­ter­net videos de­pict­ing the rape of “help­less” women in the weeks lead­ing up to the latenight at­tack in Le­ices­ter’s Vic­to­ria Park.

Al­though he de­nied any in­ten­tion of killing the woman, Pearce ad­mit­ted two counts of rape, caus­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm with in­tent, and steal­ing the vic­tim’s hand­bag.

The vic­tim, aged in her twen­ties, suf­fered “truly dread­ful” head injuries at the hands of Pearce, who was cap­tured on CCTV run­ning to­wards the vic­tim.

In a state­ment is­sued by Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice af­ter the case, the vic­tim – praised by of­fi­cers for her “hum­bling” for­ti­tude – told how she woke from a coma weeks later, un­aware of what had hap­pened to her.

Se­cu­rity cam­eras at a prop­erty nearby showed the teenager calmly step­ping into a drive­way to avoid a po­lice pa­trol an­swer­ing a 999 call from wit­nesses who heard “thud­ding” noises as the woman was at­tacked at about 11.35pm on July 3.

The court heard Pearce, who will be 18 in seven months’ time, had dragged the vic­tim into un­der­growth, where she was found around an hour later by a cy­clist.

Trial judge Mr Jus­tice Had­don Cave or­dered that Pearce, of Claren­don Park, Le­ices­ter, should be named af­ter the Press As­so­ci­a­tion and BBC ar­gued that nam­ing him would be in the pub­lic in­ter­est and have a pow­er­ful de­ter­rent effect.

The de­fen­dant, who had been drink­ing in a pub, was linked to the at­tack by “one-in-a-bil­lion” DNA matches af­ter his fam­ily con­tacted the po­lice fol­low­ing a me­dia ap­peal.

In his clos­ing speech to the jury, pros­e­cu­tor Gor­don Asp­den said the at­tack was an at­tempt to “silence” the vic­tim.

Ad­journ­ing sen­tence on Pearce, Mr Jus­tice Had­don-Cave said: “You have been found guilty of at­tempted mur­der by the jury on over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence.”

> Char­lie John Pearce, 17

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