Boy detained for at least 19 years for ‘truly shocking’ murder of schoolgirl

A 17-year-old boy has been detained for at least 19 years for the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl.

The youth used horrific levels of violence in a two-hour assault on the defenceless 14-year-old victim, before dumping her body on a park bench in Wolverhampton.

He denied any wrongdoing during a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, but was unanimously convicted by a jury on December 14 last year over the attack on Viktorija Sokolova.

At the same court on Friday, he was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum term of 19 years.

The sentencing judge said Viktorija – described in court by her mother as her “one and only” – had been left “degraded” after she was “battered” in a pavilion and her body dragged 150 yards to a bench.

There, in West Park, she was discovered by a dog-walker who initially mistook her semi-naked body for a mannequin.

A tribute in West Park to 14-year-old Viktorija Sokolova
A tribute in West Park to 14-year-old Viktorija Sokolova (Josh Payne/PA)

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that he had carried out a “truly shocking attack” on a defenceless and vulnerable young girl, after watching pornography and carrying out internet research.

He told the youth, who sat head bowed in the dock: “The offences committed were extraordinarily serious.

“The deliberate targeting of a vulnerable young girl, she was lured, at night – the defendant armed with a weapon – where she was subject to a truly shocking attack.”

He added: “It is clear what took place in West Park over two hours was not a matter of happenstance but had been carefully planned by you.

“You had specifically encouraged to meet Viktorija.

“Given the nature both of your personal internet research, and the injuries subsequently inflicted on her, it is clear you had planned not only to rape her but batter her to death with a weapon you’d brought with you, for that purpose.”

Detectives believe the boy used a hammer, which has never been found, to launch the assault on his victim, who suffered a fractured skull, brain injuries, and shattered vertebrae.

It was an attack of such violence, the court heard three of the young girl’s teeth were found in the pavilion.

But throughout proceedings, the killer showed no remorse, and simply nodded as he was ordered by the judge to be taken to the cells.

Jurors heard that Lithuanian-born Viktorija was lured to the park late on April 11 last year after being contacted by her killer on Facebook Messenger.

Following the fatal attack the youth was caught on CCTV as he attempted to cover up the offence by hiding bloodied clothing, having deleted Facebook messages and hurled his victim’s phone towards a lake.

Viktorija Sokolova murder case
Viktorija’s mother, Karolina Valantiniene, attended court for the sentencing (Aaron Chown/PA)

The boy – who refused to give evidence, claiming to be suffering from learning difficulties – initially denied even meeting Viktorija, but later said they had had consensual sex and then parted ways.

In a victim impact statement read to court by the prosecutor, the girl’s mother, Karolina Valantiniene, said: “April 12, 2018 was the most horrible day of my life.

“I left for work, as normal, and at work was asked to come to the office and – at that moment – my world fell apart.

“I cried out all my tears. It felt like no tears were left.”

Her daughter had had “many beautiful plans for the future”, learning how to drive, finishing school, and she had spoken of “buying her a beautiful prom dress”.

“She had loads of beautiful dreams,” she added.

“And then people come to your place of work, and tell you she’s gone forever.

“I will never be able to hear the words ‘mum’ and ‘mummy’.

“One day I went to her room and screamed out ‘forgive me, forgive me everything.

“I wanted to die together with her.

“Many times, I’ve asked why are there such terrible people on the Earth.

“To realise you don’t have your child anymore, and never will again.

“Because she was my one and only daughter.

“Someone dared to raise his hand against her and take her away from me. Why?”

Adam Kane QC, in mitigation, told the judge the boy had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic since the end of the trial.

He added the boy was a “very unwell, emotionally impoverished young man”, who until the attack had no previous convictions or criminal cautions.

Mr Kane added that his client’s home life was one of social “isolation”, with no school attendance since the September prior to Viktorija’s killing.

The judge also ordered the youth detained for 10 years for rape, to be served concurrent to the murder sentence.