Horror of little Katie's mother as she arrived at the scene of her daughter's death

The mother of seven-year-old Katie Rough screamed and tried to cradle her daughter when she found her smothered and slashed on the playing field where she was killed by a teenager.

Katie Rough was killed after an attack in January. Picture: Simon Hulme
Katie Rough was killed after an attack in January. Picture: Simon Hulme

Alison Rough was “frantic” when she discovered the scene at The Square, a sports and recreation field behind Alness Drive in York, shortly after Katie was fatally attacked in January.

Her daughter’s killer, who was 15 at the time, had smothered her with a glove-covered hand before slashing her neck and torso with a Stanley knife.

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Were chances missed to treat ‘disturbed’ killer of seven-year-old York girl?Graham Reeds QC, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that residents of the nearby cul-de-sac were first to tend to the injured girl after being told she was there by the teenager, who was found “distressed, covered in mud” and with a “blood-stained right hand”.

Alison Rough the mother of murdered Katie Rough, pictured at her home at York. Picture: Simon Hulme

Peter Mills found Katie around 15 to 20 yards beyond the entrance to the field, lying on her back, with her hands to the side and above her head and with her face covered in blood.

He attempted to find a pulse or signs of breathing but Katie was “lifeless”.

Mr and Mrs Rough arrived as a police officer discovered a “substantial” 6cm knife wound to the young girl’s neck.

Life will never be same again, says mother of tragic Katie RoughMr Reeds said: “Upon seeing the blood in Katie’s hair and the throat injury, Alison started to scream.

Alison Rough the mother of murdered Katie Rough, pictured at her home at York. Picture: Simon Hulme

“She then tried to cradle Katie’s head but the police officer tried to lead them both away so they did not have to witness any more.

“They were both led away in considerable distress.

“Alison was saying ‘she’s killed my daughter’.”

Mrs Rough later told the BBC: “I cradled her. I saw her injuries, I knew she was gone.”

Residents of Alness Drive told at the time how they saw Mrs Rough crying on her knees in the street. One woman said: “The mother was on her knees in the middle of the road, crying and saying things.”

Rob McCartney added: “The mother came running up the street, shouting for help and saying ‘Get an ambulance’.”

Paramedics who attended found another wound to Katie’s torso – which ran for around 20cm from her sternum to her stomach and had cut through skin, fat and muscle, with shorter cuts to each side.

Her clothing had been pulled up to inflict the wound, which was made with a red Stanley knife that the teenager had taken from her grandmother’s kitchen and handed to police when she was detained near the scene.

Blood staining on Katie’s green coat with a fur-trimmed hood, school trousers and school shirt all suggested she was lying on her back when she was cut with the knife.

Tests later found that Katie had been smothered and the knife wounds inflicted after her death. Katie was pronounced dead at hospital that evening.

Mrs Rough told the BBC: “We went in to see her and the rest is a blur. The next few days were an absolute blur.

“It was just the darkest. I never knew that I could feel something so terrible.

“There’s no words for how we felt. It was just absolute devastation.”

The court was told yesterday that the teenager was standing in a nearby cul-de-sac, covered in blood and carrying the blood-stained Stanley knife as she rang 999 to tell police what she had done.

The defendant appeared by video link where she denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

This plea was accepted by the prosecution.

The judge, Mr Justice Soole, was told how the girl began suffering from mental health problems more than a year before the killing.

Mr Reeds said she had reported delusional thoughts as well as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Girl writes plea down on paper

During the hearing the dark-haired girl appeared on the video link sitting next to a solicitor and wearing a black hoodie.

The teenager’s solicitor confirmed her name when asked by the judge.

Nicholas Johnson QC asked the court if the charge of murder could be put to the girl again and she wrote her plea on a piece of paper.

Her solicitor told the court: “I can confirm she has indicated not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.”

The judge said he wanted more questions answering by the medical experts before he could pass sentence.

He said the case would be adjourned until July 20.

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