Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Killer-obsessed schoolgirl guilty of friend murder bid

knife Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption The jury was shown the knife the girl brought to school and used to stab her friend

A girl who was obsessed with serial killers and school shootings has been found guilty of attempting to murder her best friend at their school.

She lured her victim to a quiet area at the Hampshire school by promising her a gift before stabbing her in the chest, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons but was then aged 14, was influenced by an interest in murderers.

She had also plotted to kill her mother and brother, her trial was told.

The defendant will be sentenced at a later date and the judge has ordered a pre-sentence psychiatric report.

Image copyright Warner Brothers
Image caption The court heard the defendant had cut her face like Heath Ledger's Joker from Batman film The Dark Knight

The girl turned up to school on 25 April wearing a bandana and with her mouth cut to resemble the Joker from the Batman film The Dark Knight, the jury heard.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price said she told her 15-year-old victim she had a present for her, and said to her friend: "Close your eyes and put your hands out."

However, the victim opened her eyes a little and saw her friend lunge at her with a knife.

The court heard the attacked girl stepped back and, although the knife went through her blazer and shirt, she only suffered a superficial puncture wound to the chest, near her heart.

'Kill list'

Her attacker also sent her a message saying she did not care "if they blamed it on The Joker or Columbine, they didn't inspire me, they motivated me", the court heard.

In police interviews read to jurors, the defendant said she had based a GCSE fashion project on US serial killers Ted Bundy and Richard "Nightcrawler" Ramirez because she thought it was "cool and edgy".

She had also researched the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the US and the Anders Breivik killings in Norway in 2011 to gain "more insight into their whole case", the court heard.

She carried out further research about the position of the heart and the fatality of stab wounds in the hours leading up the attack, the jury was told.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The attacker researched the killings carried out by Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011

The girl also admitted she had compiled a "kill list" of potential victims, including other pupils, as well as her mother and brother.

However, she told the court her plans for a school massacre were "not serious" and she did not understand her own motives.

'Not in control'

She said she felt compelled to attack her friend, adding: "A very big part of me was disgusted at what I was thinking.

"I didn't feel very much in control of what I was doing.

"I didn't want to, I felt I had to, I felt that within myself."

Previously the court was told the girl bore a grudge against her victim, who she believed had set up fake Instagram and Tumblr accounts in her name.

At the start of the trial she pleaded guilty to having a bladed weapon on school premises and unlawful wounding.

She said she had carried out the stabbing because: "I had a driving force to hurt someone. I was scared of losing face. I intended to stab her."

However, she denied intending to kill or cause serious harm.

Following the conviction, Councillor Peter Edgar, executive member for education at Hampshire County Council, described the case as "exceptional" but refused to comment about it further.

However, when asked about the welfare provision in schools he added: "In my experience, in this county, schools do an excellent job in nurturing children and young people, placing as much importance on taking responsibility for their welfare as their education.

"Teaching and support staff are extremely well trained.

"They are suitably equipped with the skills they need to deal with all manner of situations appropriately and know they are able to call on our advice whenever they need to."

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