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  1. ITV Report

Katie Rough: Teenager sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter

A 16-year-old girl who killed seven-year-old Katie Rough in a York park has been given a life sentence for manslaughter and ordered to be detained for a minimum of five years by a judge at Leeds Crown Court.

Katie died after she was smothered and then slashed with a Stanley knife by the girl who was 15 at the time and who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The defendant, who admitted manslaughter due to diminished responsibility at a previous hearing, appeared by video-link at Leeds Crown Court as Katie's family looked on from the jury box.

Katie Rough was found on in playing field with severe lacerations and died later in hospital. Credit: SWNS

Katie was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on 9 January 2017, and died later in hospital. She had been on her way home when she was attacked by the girl.

Flanked by a court usher and a youth team leader, the girl clutched a soft toy throughout the hearing.

Handing down the sentence, the judge told her: "The gravity of the offence of killing a small child speaks for itself."

Mr Justice Soole continued: "The level of danger to the public is high.

"In the circumstances of your continuing silence, the critical question is whether there is any reliable estimate as to how long that danger will continue."

In a statement read outside court by a police officer, the Katie's family said: "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."

The statement said: "Katie's memory will live on in our hearts but also more widely, as a little girl who brought more colour to her world."

Katie's family at her funeral earlier this year. Credit: PA

Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Kell, from North Yorkshire Police, 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."At that earlier hearing, the court heard that the teenager was found standing in a cul-de-sac in a York suburb, covered in blood and carrying a blood-stained Stanley knife as she rang 999 to tell police what she had done.

The judge was told she may have been trying to prove Katie was not a robot as she had "irrational beliefs".

He heard that the girl began suffering from mental health problems more than a year before the killing.

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

They said the girl had talked of being convinced that people "weren't human and were robots".