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The York Press
3 July 2017
CONSULTANT child psychiatrists don’t agree on what the 16-year-old girl who killed Katie Rough suffers from. But they do agree that her condition substantially affected her thought processes, Graham Reeds QC told Leeds Crown Court.
That is why, after discussions at the highest level within the Crown Prosecution Service, the CPS accepted her plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mr Reeds said her mental health had deteriorated for more than year before she killed Katie.
She had developed an “interest in the macabre” and by the time of Katie’s death was under the care of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She had been prescribed fluoxetine for anxiety and depression in December 2016. Health professionals had flagged up that she may be suffering from psychosis but a formal diagnosis had not been made.
Consultant child psychiatrist Dr Barry Chipchase of Newcastle, a former member of the parole board, saw her following her arrest on behalf of the defence team.
He was one of four psychiatrists and psychologists who prepared reports for the court. He decided that she may be developing a psychotic type of personality disorder but did not think she should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Fellow Newcastle child psychiatric consultant Dr Cesar Lengua, who saw her on behalf of the prosecution, believed that she should be assessed for a possible depressive disorder.
Mr Justice Soole said: “I am quite clear there are loose ends. I do want to know more before sentencing in this matter.”
He ordered the two consultant psychiatrists to discuss their reports together and draw up a document for them, particularly about whether it would be appropriate for him to pass a hospital order on the teenager.
He also ordered the youth offending team to prepare a report on the girl, though a team member warned him it may not include anything he had not already learnt from the doctors.
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Teenage girl admits killing Katie Rough, 7, ‘to test whether she was a robot’ — (The Telegraph)
The 15-year-old asphyxiated Katie on a playing field with a gloved hand before using a Stanley knife to make a 6cm slash to her neck and 20cm cut to her torso while suffering from nightmarish “macabre” delusions.
She had wanted to test whether or not her victim was a robot, Leeds Crown Court heard. She left drawings of stick men “inflicting killing and death” beside Katie with a note saying: “They are not human, they are not real”.
But although she was prescribed the drug fluoxetine for anxiety and depression in December 2016 and was put into the care of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), she had not been given a full psychiatric assessment.
The following month, the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, posted a picture to Instagram of self-harm wounds to her arms with the caption: ‘Mentally, seriously, not okay.’
Just 48 hours [later], Katie’s body was found on a playing field in York with severe and large cuts to her neck and chest.
Katie’s parents, Alison and Paul Rough, arrived minutes after their daughter had been fatally injured and her frantic mother had to be pulled away from her as she tried to cradle her where she lay in a pool of blood.
The teenager, who remained at the scene, was arrested and charged with murder.
Both parents were in court on Monday as the defendant, who is now 16, appeared via videolink and pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
Prosecutor Graham Reeds said the girl’s behaviour had changed at the beginning of last year.
“She developed an interest in the macabre, lost most of her friendship group at school and starting harming herself with a blade and was very upset and reporting suicidal thoughts,” he said.
“From March 2016 there were reports of disturbed thinking but there was no evidence of psychosis. She was having thoughts that her family and other people were not human and were robots.
“She did not believe this thinking was irrational and that it had some foundation, it was found she was suffering from delusional thoughts.”
Following an assessment a clinical psychologist found she may be suffering from an “emerging schizotypal personality disorder” because was exhibiting eight of the nine criteria for the diagnosis to be correct.
In a search of her bedroom after the killing, police found a Simba toy from the movie The Lion King which had its ears cut off and inserted into a slash made in its stomach.
There were also notes, books and comics “of a violent nature” and a little blue book in which she drew pictures depicting death.
The court heard that the teenage killer was found standing in the road by neighbour Peter Mills at around 4.30pm on January 9. Mr Reeds said: “She was distressed, covered in mud and had a blood-stained right hand. Such was her condition that his first reaction was that she had been the victim of a serious attack and he alerted his wife to come and help,”
The girl had dialled 999 and told the operator that Katie was dead.
“(Mr Mills) tried to find a pulse but with no success, she didn’t respond him talking to her, she was lifeless, he covered her with his coat and ran to get help.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Rough had called 999 to report her daughter missing and was told by the operator that a crime had been reported in a nearby field. She ran to the scene, arriving just after a police officer.
Mr Reeds said: “The police officer started chest compressions but Katie’s position revealed a substantial slash wound to the neck which was 6cms long and was particularly deep.
“On seeing the blood in Katie’s hair Alison began to scream and tried to cradle Katie’s head, she and Mr Rough were led away in considerable distress and Alison was heard saying: “She has killed my daughter.”
Nicholas Johnson, QC, for the teenager, said: “She is an extremely troubled and damaged teenage girl with a significant history of mental health issues of increasing severity in the months leading to these events.”
He added: “Her disorder is almost certainly due to a traumatic experience of some sort in early childhood, a matter she is not able to talk about.”
Two experts will meet to discuss the girl’s mental state before the judge decides whether she continues to be held in youth custody or whether a hospital order is needed.
The case was adjourned until July 20.