Guilty verdict in Ockendon attempt murder trial

A YOUTH WAS found guilty of the attempted murder of a disabled woman in South Ockendon at Basildon Crown Court today (Wednesday).

The jury of eight women and four men took seven hours to find the sixteen-year-old, from Rainham, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty of attempting to murder Amanda Stephenson, 27, by stabbing her nine times in her flat in Celandine Close, South Ockendon, in September last year.

But the jury was left visibly shocked as the youth went into a violent rage as he was led away and had to be restrained by court staff.

Co-defendant, Christopher Rowe, 23, Dart Green, South Ockendon was found not guilty of wounding with intent. The charge of attempted murder had been dropped. He had already pled guilty to possessing an offensive weapon. He was bailed for sentencing in late May.

Judge Christopher Mitchell told the court that he would require both psychiatric and probation reports for the youth.

Sentencing will take place on May 23rd.

An impact statement from the victim’s father, Roland Stevenson was read out in court.

The statement said: “Our daughter Amanda is now back living with us. She loved living on her own but she may now never have the independence that she once craved.”

The attempted murder occurred on the 23rd September 2010.

Sickle cell sufferer Ms Stephenson, 27, had put a message on Rowe’s facebook page telling him and the youth to “stop taking drugs” in her flat as she could be evicted by Thurrock Council.

Prosecuting counsel Andrew Jackson told the jury of six men and six women that at 11pm on the 23rd, the two accused went round to Ms Stephenson’s flat.

Once within, the youth began to vandalise the flat, racially abuse her, before brandishing a knife and stabbing her nine times in the chest, abdomen and neck area.

The wounds were inflicted with such force that the knife bent in two.

The court heard that Ms Stephenson pleaded with Rowe to come to her assistance but this was rejected. Instead, Rowe showed her that he was also in possession of a knife.

As Ms Stephenson begged for her life, she attempted to use her mobile phone but the youth kicked it away from her.

As she lay on the floor, the two males left with the youth saying: “We came to do what we came to do.”

Ms Stephenson crawled to her phone and dialled 999. She was rushed to Basildon hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for a number of life threatening injuries including a punctured liver.

She remained in intensive care for five days and survived.

Rowe and the youth were arrested in the South Ockendon area soon after.

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