Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Victim branded “Liar” as attempt murder trial enters “Twilight” zone

A DISABLED WOMAN who was stabbed and left to die in a South Ockendon council flat has been described as a ‘compulsive liar’ by the 16-year-old boy accused of attacking her.

Christopher Rowe, 23, Dart Green, South Ockendon and a 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are both accused of the attempted murder of Amanda Stephenson at her flat in September last year.

Miss Stephenson was found in her blood stained dressing gown in her flat on 19 September last year after suffering 10 stab wounds in what prosecutors described as a “deliberate, violent and sustained attack”.

In court on Friday the jury heard how the 16-year-old youth told police Miss Stephenson was a “compulsive liar” and went on to describe seeing the knife sticking out of her back before Rowe “plunged it back in”.

The youth denies the charge of attempted murder but has since pled guilty to a charge of wounding with intent and possession of an offensive weapon. Rowe denies all the charges.

In the police interview recorded the night after the stabbing the youth went on to say that Miss Stephenson was keen on vampire fantasy series Twilight, when asked who an ‘Isabella’ was that had allegedly accompanied the two to the flat on the previous evening.

It later transpired Isabella Swan was a character from the book and that Rowe and the unnamed youth had been the only people in attendance that night.

Maria Culling, defending, then went on to question the validity of a statement from Miss Stephenson claiming the two youths had said “We did what we came to do” after the attack – noting that a similar line can be found within the third novel of the Twilight Series called Eclipse.

Earlier in the day a police officer described how the youth had seemed ‘extremely nervous’ when police arrested the pair near to the flat at around 11.45pm on the night of the incident.

PC Rory Phillips told the court: “As I held his arm I could feel it shaking in my grasp”.

Jury members were also shown CCTV footage of a knife being discarded in a drain along South Road, South Ockendon, on the night of the attack shortly before police arrested the pair.

Police recovered a knife blade and handle in the early hours of the next day after the youth directed officers to the drain along South Road.

A second knife was later recovered from a drain in Quince Tree Close on 30 December after Rowe told police of its whereabouts.

Jurors were shown a silver kitchen knife with a bent blade recovered from the drain before being told forensic tests had uncovered traces of blood on both sides of the blade and on the hilt of the knife.

Blood was also discovered on one of the youth’s trainers and on his trousers.

The case continues.


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