Jury finds Peterborough boy, 16, did commit act of rape and sexual assault despite hearing he was not fit to stand trial

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A 16-year-old boy who carried out a terrifying knife-point rape on a woman in Peterborough in broad daylight will be sentenced in January.

The boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - launched the attack near Rhubarb Bridge in the city at about 11.30am on Saturday, September 30 last year.

Police making inquiries at the scene of one of the attacks.

Police making inquiries at the scene of one of the attacks.

While the teenager has not been fit to stand trial, a hearing has been taking place at Cambridge Crown Court to decide whether the youth carried out the attack, and a robbery at the same location six days later.

The jury retired to start their deliberations at 1.15pm - and at 4.20pm they returned their verdicts.

The boy was found to have committed rape, sexual assault, threatening another with a knife (all on September 30) and sexual assault and robbery on October 6.

Because the boy was unfit to stand trial, the jury did not return guilty verdicts, but instead the jury foreman said the 12 jurors had found the boy had committed the acts.

Police making inquiries at the scene of one of the attacks.

Police making inquiries at the scene of one of the attacks.

Judge Jonathan Cooper adjourned the case for more reports to be carried out on the boy. The next hearing will take place on January 11, 2019, again at Cambridge Crown Court, when the boy will be sentenced.

Two psychiatrists will compile reports on the youth ahead of the sentencing.

There were tears in the public gallery where the boy's parents were sitting throughout the case - although the boy did not attend the hearings. The teenager will be present at the next hearing in the new year.

Judge Cooper praised the police investigation into the attacks, as well as the boy's parents for their dignity in court.

The court had heard how the youngster raped a 24-year-old woman, who was walking along the footpath near to AMF Bowling off Bretton Way, near to Rhubarb Bridge on September 30. He was armed with a knife, and threatened the woman with the weapon.

The jury was also told when the victim reported the attack to police, the shirt she was wearing was examined for forensic evidence. DNA was found on the clothing, and it matched the boy's DNA - with Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, telling the jury there was a 'one in one billion' chance the DNA could have come from someone else.

A second attack is said to have taken place on Friday, October 6. It is said a 19-year-old woman was walking along the footpath which runs alongside the bowling alley, near to Rhubarb Bridge, when he slapped her on the bottom, grabbed her by the arms and snatched her handbag.


The victim later identified the boy during a video identity parade.

Claire Matthews, defending, had told the jury they had to be sure the youth had committed the acts - and that it was down to the prosecution to prove he did.

She said the first victim was unable to identify the boy in an identity parade, and neither had the second victim's boyfriend - who also saw the youth.

She also said no mud or dirt was found on the first victim's clothing - despite the attack taking place in bushes.

But Mr O'Donnell said the 'killer' piece of evidence was the DNA match found on the shirt.

Before the trial started, two consultant forensic psychiatrists had examined the youth, with both agreeing he was unfit to stand trial, as he was not capable of following the proceedings, or giving instructions to his legal team.

Judge Cooper had told the jury: "Through no fault of his own, he (the defendant) is not fit to stand trial.

“There cannot be a trial in the usual way.

"You will not decide if he is guilty or not. What you have to decide is if he did any or all of the acts alleged. There is an important public interest as to whether he did the act, whether or not there can be a full trial.”