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Girl gets 10 years for comb murder

Julie Sheriff was in a coma for four months before she died. Photo: Metropolitan Police

A 16-year-old girl has been given a life sentence for killing a teenager with an Afro comb.

Rebecca Douglas, who was 15 at the time, spiked 16-year-old Julie Sheriff's head with the pointed metal handle.

As Phil Bayles reports, Douglas, who had been sleeping rough at friends' houses, was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years after being convicted of murder last month.

The Old Bailey heard that the pintail comb had been taken out of Julie's red weave hair before being used as a lethal weapon in the attack in Battersea, south London, in May last year.

The court also heard recordings that were found on the phone belonging to Douglas.

In one she is heard to say: “Seen some girl that I hate with a passion and I stabbed her... I'm going to go to the hospital and suffocate her.”

Julie, of Hackney, east London, never recovered from the swelling and bleeding it caused to her brain and died almost five months later, in September.

Judge Nicholas Cooke warned parents to be aware of the dangers to young girls wearing such combs as "fashion accessories".

He said: "We heard evidence that a pintail comb can be used as a lethal weapon.

"We heard it can be worn in the hair as a fashion accessory.

"It can be as effective a killing instrument as a stiletto knife. It is not a very nice thing to have in your hair."

Judge Cooke said that in addition to being detained during Her Majesty's pleasure, Douglas had been in custody for 15 months.

Speaking outside court, Julie's father, Raouf Sheriff said there are times he wishes he had never brought her to Britain from Sierra Leone.