Identity of boy serving life for ‘truly shocking’ murder of schoolgirl revealed
The identity of a teenager who brutally raped and murdered a 14-year-old schoolgirl can be revealed for the first time after a court ruling.
Ayman Aziz, 17, contacted Viktorija Sokolova online and lured her to a Wolverhampton park, where he subjected her to horrific levels of violence in a two-hour attack before dumping her body on a bench.
He was handed a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 19 years behind bars at Wolverhampton Crown Court in February after being found guilty of her murder.
Aziz could not be identified in reports at the time as reporting restrictions because of his age were imposed.
Although the trial judge agreed to lift those restrictions following an application by PA and other media organisations, the teenager’s lawyers challenged that decision and the restrictions remained in place pending an appeal.
Adam Kane QC argued the reporting restrictions should not be lifted because they would have an adverse effect on Aziz’s rehabilitation.
He also said the teenager, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, has been “bullied and threatened” in detention and has stopped attending educational classes as a result.
But the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other senior judges rejected Aziz’s challenge at the Court of Appeal on Thursday, meaning he can now be named.
The judges also rejected an appeal by Aziz, who watched the hearing over a video link from the young offenders’ institution where he is detained, against his minimum term.
The teenager denied any wrongdoing during a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court but was found guilty by a jury on December 14 last year over the attack on Viktorija.
Lithuanian-born Viktorija – described in court by her mother as her “one and only” – was contacted by Aziz on Facebook Messenger and lured to Wolverhampton’s West Park late on April 11 2018.
She was savagely beaten in a pavilion before being dragged 150 yards to a bench, where her body was later discovered by a dog walker.
Sentencing Aziz, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the teenager carried out the “truly shocking” attack after watching pornography and carrying out internet research.
He 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.
Detectives believe he 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.
Throughout his trial, Aziz showed no remorse, gave no evidence in his defence and simply nodded as he was ordered by the judge to be taken to the cells.
In a victim impact statement, Viktorija’s mother Karolina Valantiniene said her daughter 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 added: “Many times, I’ve asked why are there such terrible people on the Earth.
“To realise you don’t have your child any more, 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?”
Lord Burnett said full reasons for the Court of Appeal’s decision will be given at a later date.