1. ITV Report

Teenager sentenced for rape and attempted murder of woman in city park

A teenage rapist who bludgeoned a woman with a paving slab and left her for dead in a Leicester park has been sentenced to life in custody.

Charlie John Pearce carried out the attack on the woman on his 17th birthday in July last year, having researched rape online.

He had denied meaning to kill the woman but admitted two counts of rape, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and stealing her handbag.

Following a trial at Leicester Crown Court, he was found guilty of attempted murder, having left his victim within a "hair's breadth" of death. He will serve a minimum of 11 years.

The court heard Pearce had dragged the victim into undergrowth in Leicester's Victoria Park, where she was found around an hour later by a cyclist who spotted a pool of blood.

Leicester's Victoria Park where the attack happened Credit: ITV News Central

The victim, aged in her 20s, suffered "truly dreadful" head injuries at the hands of Pearce, who was captured on CCTV running towards her.

She awoke from a coma weeks later, unaware of what had happened.

The defendant, who had been drinking in a pub, was linked by "one-in-a-billion" DNA matches after his family contacted the police following a media appeal.

During the Judge's summing up, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said:

The defendant is an exceptionally dangerous young man.

He set out to mark his 17th birthday by finding a woman to attack and rape.

He used "animalistic savagery".

– Mr Justice Haddon-Cave