A teenager who killed a seven-year-old girl in a York park has been ordered to be detained for assessment in a psychiatric hospital for 12 weeks by a judge who told her she poses “a high risk of serious harm to others and to yourself”.
The 16-year-old girl broke down and sobbed at Leeds Crown Court where she appeared via video-link on Thursday to be sentenced for the manslaughter of Katie Rough.
Mr Justice Soole told the defendant she would be detained in hospital before she is returned to court for further sentencing to take place on November 24.
The judge told her: “All sentencing options will be open when, at its conclusion, I make my final decision.”
He said: “It is not in dispute that you currently pose a high risk of serious harm to others and to yourself.”
The teenage girl, wearing glasses and dressed in casual clothes, sat with a lawyer in another room at the court building.
For most of the hearing she had her legs crossed and rested her hands in her lap as she listened to the lawyers discuss her clinical diagnoses.
But, as the judge addressed her, she bent forward and began crying loudly.
The judge told the court he only had a short section of his ruling left to deliver and would carry on speaking.
Katie Rough was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a playing field behind Alness Drive in Woodthorpe, York, in January and did not respond to frantic attempts to revive her.
But a judge at Leeds Crown Court heard earlier this year how she actually died from being smothered by her attacker – a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The court heard in July how the teenager was standing in a nearby cul-de-sac, covered in blood and carrying a blood-stained Stanley knife as she rang 999 to tell police what she had done.
‘Most disturbing case’
On Thursday, the judge told the defendant that three consultants in adolescent forensic psychiatry had now assessed her in this “most disturbing case”.
He said this was despite the girl’s “very limited engagement with them”.
The judge said two of the three specialists agreed that the teenager suffers from a mental disorder of a kind which enables him to make an interim hospital order, which was enough for him to proceed.
He said the third doctor “does not agree with his colleagues’ classification of it as a depressive disorder, nor their opinion that the disorder is such that a hospital order may be appropriate”.
The judge told the girl he was making the hospital order “in order to try and obtain the fullest picture of your mental condition and its prospects of treatment before making my final decision as to the appropriate sentence in your case”.
The judge stressed that, although the interim order can only be made for 12 weeks, one of the doctors has indicated “that the necessary management and assessment will take a minimum six months”.
During the July hearing, the judge was told she may have been trying to prove the youngster was not a robot, as she had “irrational beliefs” about how people “may not be human and may be controlled by a higher and hostile force”, a court heard earlier this year.
The girl denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility at the hearing at Leeds Crown Court.
The judge has heard how the girl began suffering from mental health problems more than a year before the killing.