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Murdered girl, 16, 'fought in vain'

A 16-year-old girl "struggled ferociously" in vain to fend off a "sexually motivated" murderer who lured her to a hotel on the bogus promise of a job, a jury has heard.

Child care student Sasha Marsden suffered "terrible and catastrophic" injuries as she was stabbed 58 times to the head, neck and face with a kitchen knife before her body was dumped in an alleyway and set alight.

The Crown says the youngster met her death at the hands of David Minto, 23, who convinced her she was starting a cleaning job at the bed and breakfast premises in Blackpool, Lancashire.

Minto - who denies murder - is alleged to have removed her partially clothed body wrapped in carpet underlay, a black bin liner and bedding and set it alight behind the Grafton House Hotel in Kirby Road.

Her injuries were so severe that she could only be identified by DNA from her toothbrush, Preston Crown Court was told.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the knife wounds were "deep and penetrating", with 48 of the wounds mainly to the back of the head.

He said: "There were a large number of wounds to her fingers, hands and forearms which were entirely consistent with what are known as defence wounds. In other words Sasha had struggled ferociously with her assailant in a vain effort to save her own life."

Police initially thought a mannequin had been set ablaze when they arrived at the scene on the evening of January 31 before realising it was the exposed torso of a female in the alleyway.

Minto was arrested shortly after and went on to tell "a series of lies" to hide his involvement including a claim that Sasha had "thrown herself" at him sexually, said the prosecutor.

Forensic tests showed the teenager's blood was found on the defendant's clothing, throughout the hotel and on the murder weapon. Her blood-stained Adidas top, pink and white training boots, pink purse and mobile phone were found in a waste bin in the rear alleyway. The phone had been dismantled and the battery removed, the court heard.

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