In January this year, 7-year-old Katie Rough was smothered and slashed with a knife by a then-15-year-old girl, who will not be named for legal reasons, on a playing field in Woodthorpe, York. Katie was found with two severe cuts to her neck and chest – she later died in hospital.
A judge has ruled in this “truly exceptional case” that the teenage girl, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility, will be detained for life and to serve a minimum term of five years. An assessment of her mental health before sentencing found that she suffered from severe mental health problems and was convinced people “were robots”.
Police discovered items from the teenager’s home, including drawings of stick men depicting killing, violent comics and a Lion King toy that had its ears cut off and stuffed into its stomach.
DCI Andrea Kell from North Yorkshire Police said, “This investigation has been one of the most tragic and challenging I have ever dealt with in my career as a police officer. There are no positive results from cases such as these. Regardless of the conviction and the sentence, nothing will ever replace the loss of Katie.”
Katie’s family said in a statement: “Today is the end of a process and that is a relief, but it’s not the end of our story. Our story is about a loving home and family that was torn apart on the day we lost our daughter.
“Our story goes on into the future, where our home feels very empty, but we will keep going for the sake of our other children and our grandson. Our hopes for the future are for a loving and safe home for our family, and we hope we will now find the privacy for that to happen.”