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Sergeant tells court of moment he found body of girl, 13, under her bedding

Published 10/10/2016

The boy and girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear at Nottingham Crown Court
The boy and girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear at Nottingham Crown Court

A murder trial jury has been told of the moment a policeman found a dead 13-year-old girl under a bundle of bedding as he shouted desperately for her to "wake up".

Sergeant Christopher Fletcher and his colleagues smashed their way into a semi-detached house in Lincolnshire after concerns were raised about the welfare of Katie Edwards and her mother, 49-year-old Elizabeth.

As he and another officer went upstairs they found the blood-covered and partially clothed body of local dinner lady Ms Edwards.

Searching the house in Dawson Avenue, Spalding, for the victim's daughter, the Lincolnshire Police officer then went into another room where there was a child's bed.

He "pulled" at a quilt on top of the mattress but it felt heavy, Sgt Fletcher recalled.

Describing what happened next at Nottingham Crown Court, he said: "I was looking for Katie, who was still outstanding, hoping she was asleep, pulling and shouting 'wake up'."

Her toys were laid out nearby, he added.

He said: "The sheet came off and I could see a bare torso of a young person.

"She was cold and rigid."

Earlier, jurors heard from prosecution QC Peter Joyce how it was alleged that two teenagers had stabbed the mother and daughter through the throat as they slept in "cold, calculated and callous killings".

One of the teenagers - a 15-year-old boy - has already admitted murdering the victims in the Edwards family home, ahead of the start of an eight-day trial.

A girl, also 15, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murdering Ms Edwards and her young daughter.

Opening the prosecution, Mr Joyce said: "They were both stabbed through the throat in their beds at their home."

Both teenagers, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are alleged to have planned the killings before carrying them out on April 15.

Ms Edwards was found lying in bed in her room where she had been repeatedly stabbed, the jury was told, leaving "blood spatters" on the wall, floor and bedding.

A pathologist "found eight sharp force injuries of which five were on her hands, which suggested she may have been trying to fend off her killer", said Mr Joyce.

Ms Edwards had also been stabbed once in the shoulder, and twice - fatally - in the neck, with one blow which "almost completely cut through her windpipe".

The Crown's QC added: "The injuries would not have been instantly fatal and there is evidence that Elizabeth Edwards survived for a short time."

Her daughter was found lying on a mattress in her bedroom under some bedding, with two stab wounds to her neck which suggested "the use of severe force", according to Mr Joyce.

The youngster was also discovered with a pillow over her face.

Mr Joyce added that a post-mortem examination concluded she died from bleeding and "smothering".

The jury heard how the boy had four knives in a backpack, and a large black-handled kitchen knife with a 20cm blade, which was shown to jurors.

The prosecution barrister said that the boy had then gone into one of the bedrooms, where he "pinned Mrs Edwards down on the bed by kneeling astride her".

He added there were noises of a struggle and "gurgling sounds while the killing took place", before a pillow was placed over the victim's head.

Mr Joyce said: "There were blood spatters on the wall - you've seen them, blood on the floor and blood on the bed."

The boy is alleged to have then checked the victim's pulse, to make sure she was dead.

He then went into the young girl's bedroom, while his alleged female accomplice was in the bathroom, where he killed his second victim.

She was later covered with a sheet.

The bodies were found by police about 36 hours after the killings.

Inside the house, officers found the 20cm kitchen knife discarded on a chest of drawers in the youngster's bedroom, which the prosecution has said was the weapon used in the killings.

Both teenagers were arrested a short time after officers made the grim discovery.

Mr Joyce told the jury: "Let me make it plain from the very outset, what it is you're trying and what you're not.

"She is not denying that she was just as involved (as the other teenager) in being a party to the killings.

"She wanted them to happen."

He added: "She is asserting that her mental condition at the time reduces her responsibility from murder to manslaughter."

The Crown's QC said: "The prosecution's case is that she will not succeed in proving that her responsibility was diminished."

He added that the defendant "has shown no hint of remorse" since the killings.

Both teenagers were 14 years old at the time.

The trial continues.

Press Association

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