A teenage boy who throttled a 10-year-old girl as she played in a street before repeatedly beating her around the head so viciously he could have killed her was yesterday locked up indefinitely.
Connor Hodgson, 16, said he had no idea why he attacked the youngster, who passed out and was found covered in blood after a major police search in Stockton, Teesside, and could not even remember carrying out the assault.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been left with serious physical and psychological problems, including post traumatic stress disorder, Teesside Crown Court heard.
A judge told Hodgson he represents such a significant risk to the public, he could not say if he would ever be released from custody.
Hodgson, who was in foster care, talked to the girl as she played outside, Tony Hawks, prosecuting, told the court.
He offered to help her find her bike and they went to a street in Stockton’s Riverside area, away from her home, where the attack is believed to have taken place.
Hodgson wrapped his hands round her neck and applied “severe force”, Mr Hawks said.
“She said that the defendant had put his arm around her neck and said he’d prevented her from breathing. She said that at that point she had gone to sleep, as she put it, and when she woke up the defendant wasn’t there.
“She reported to have no recollection of the sustained assault the defendant must have carried out.”
The victim’s mother reported her missing and police started a search, helped by members of the public, on April 7 this year.
She was found about two hours later, Mr Hawks said, adding: “She was confused, unsteady on her feet and covered in blood.”
A doctor who examined her said she had multiple cuts and bruises due to “severe, blunt force” and concluded: “In my opinion, these injuries represent at least seven blows to the back of the head, four to the face, with pressure to the neck.
“The head injuries and pressure to the neck were potentially fatal.”
Hodgson was arrested after CCTV showed him with the youngster.
He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent at a previous court hearing.
He denied a charge of kidnap, which was accepted by the Crown and a not guilty verdict was recorded.
Duncan McReddie, representing Hodgson, said the defendant deserved credit for a guilty plea.
He said he had been affected by “adverse childhood experiences” and was “immature”.
“He does find it very difficult to accept he was the person who conducted the offence in this way,” Mr McReddie said.
The victim has made a good recovery but has “ongoing physical and mental problems” including extreme phobias, the court heard.