A teenager who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of seven-year-old Katie Rough in York, has today been sentenced to life at Leeds Crown Court.
The now sixteen-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will serve a minimum of five years.
Katie was smothered and slashed with a knife in a park in York in January. A previous hearing had heard that the girl suffered from severe mental health problems.
The defendant sat silent in court, holding a soft toy. Mr Justice Soole said that the girl’s continuing silence raised the question of how long she would continue to be a danger to the public.
Her barrister said there was nothing malicious in her silence, but was simply a coping mechanism for the post-traumatic stress she had suffered in the wake of her crime.
Senior investing officer Andrea Kell said: “This investigation has been one of the most tragic, and challenging, I have ever dealt with during my career as a police officer.
“There are no positive results from cases such as these.
“Regardless of the conviction and sentence, nothing will ever replace the loss of Katie .
“The lives of Paul and Alison Rough, and their wider family, have changed forever as a result of the devastating events which happened on Monday January 9, 2017.
“I hope today’s conclusion of the court proceedings, will allow the family to now focus on trying to re-build their lives.
“Our thoughts remain with Katie’s parents and the entire Rough family.”
Katie’s family said in a statement: “Today is the end of a process, and that is a relief, but it is not the end of our story.
“Our story is about a loving home and family that was torn apart on a day when we lost our daughter.
“Our story goes on into a future where our home feels very empty, but we will keep going for sake of our other children and our grandson.
“We are so grateful for everyone who has helped us in these last months, including the whole community in York, who have been so generous with their kindness, their time and their money.”