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Viktorija Sokolova: Schoolgirl 'bludgeoned to death by teenage Facebook friend' in West Park

By John Scott | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published:

A rebellious 14-year-old girl was raped and bludgeoned to death with something like a hammer by a 16-year-old Facebook Messenger friend in a Wolverhampton park, a jury heard.

Viktorija Sokolova was murdered in West Park, where she had arranged to meet her alleged killer

Tragic Viktorija Sokolova had her head 'smashed in' after being hit at least 21 times with the weapon, a jury heard.

Her body was found by Daniel Squire who was walking his dog through West Park just before 7am on April 12, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Initially he thought it was a blow-up doll resting on a park bench and continued with his walk but when he returned to the area soon afterwards he realised to his horror that it was the body of a young girl.

Kneeling

Mr Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said: "She was in a kneeling position with the knees on the ground and the top half of her body draped over the arm of the bench."

The prosecutor continued: "She had been subjected to a sustained and ferocious attack.

The court heard how Viktorija had planned to meet someone in the park pavilion

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"The force of the attack was such that it caused multiple fractures of the underlying skullcap and facial skeleton. In short her head had been smashed in."

Mr Rees alleged that she had been murdered by the youth, who cannot be identified because of his age, but had arranged to meet her at the park late the previous evening.

He added: "The evidence indicates that he invited Viktorija to meet him because he wanted to have sex with her."

Forensics and CCTV

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Forensic examination proved that this took place but other evidence indicated she had died before it happened.

The defendant maintains the victim consented to the act and was alive and well when he left her, the court heard.

Tributes were left outside the park, which was closed for a week after the murder

Mr Rees said that a figure, which he claimed was the youth, was seen on CCTV leaving the park two hours later but had changed his trousers.

A friend of the Lithuanian-born victim said Viktorija had exchanged Facebook messages with someone she planned to meet in the 'black house' - the wooden pavilion - late at night on April 11.

When the friend asked who the person was the 14-year-old simply said it was 'just a mate,' the jury was told.

Missing

Victorija - who lived with her mother and stepfather in Mostyn Street, Wolverhampton, and had a 'turbulent' relationship with them - allegedly indicated in another message that she intended to run away later the following day.

Viktorija's body was found by a dog walker on the morning of April 12

Her parents struggled to control her and she had been reported missing to police on several occasions since December 2017 after spending nights at the homes of friends which whom she like to ‘chill’ in the park.

"They were only too well aware of the risks that she could be exposed to by being out at night," said the prosecutor.

Social services were also aware of her tendency to go missing.

She was put on a curfew and the family's house was alarmed. Her mother is also thought to have destroyed some of her casual clothes, the court heard.

Three days before, Victorija and her mother were involved in a major row over her stealing money and the following day she was arrested by police on suspicion of stealing her stepfather's bank card, which had been used to withdraw £250.

She said she had spent some of the cash on new clothes but was released after being kept in custody for a few hours, it was said.

Messages

The victim and defendant sent messages to each other during the run up to their ill-fated meeting which they arranged to take place in the 'black house'.

A person believed to be the defendant was filmed entering the park at about 10.44pm - a few minutes before Viktorija and three quarters of an hour after his phone was disconnected from the network, continued Mr Rees.

CCTV showed a person alleged to be the killer entering the park at 10.44pm

Two hours later the same person is thought to be seen leaving West Park wearing different trousers.

The prosecutor told the jury: "If it is the defendant you will want to consider why the change of trousers occurred."

There were no signs of life when Victorija was found seven hours later.

A hoop earring, another earring and a bloodstained baseball cap were found near a large amount of blood, while drag marks appeared to lead from the shelter in the general direction of the bench where she was found.

Her pink ankle boots were recovered from near the lake and two of her teeth had been knocked out.

In addition to the horrific head injuries suffered by Viktorija her spine had been fractured by a blow to the back.

There were also straight abrasions on the front of the chest and upper part of the midriff - which had been caused after death - that could have been caused by dragging, the jury heard.

The case is being heard at Wolverhampton Crown Court

Close examination of the brain tissues indicated she was likely to have died within an hour of the head injuries being inflicted.

Samples taken during the post mortem examination showed she had not been drinking or smoking cannabis shortly before the attack.

'Deleting evidence'

Meanwhile the defendant had deleted incriminating material from his iPhone shortly after leaving the park, it was alleged.

The defendant was arrested on April 13 from his home address from which police also recovered two mobile phones from behind a wardrobe and under a pillow case.

Material concerning sex had been accessed on one of these - an iPhone thought to belong to the accused.

The other - supposedly his brother's - had been used to explore 'how to delete your Facebook account permanently' in the early hours of April 12.

Mr Rees alleged this was shortly after the defendant had returned home from the park.

When it was analysed, the Facebook Messenger message content had been deleted along with calls to and from Viktorija and searches related to sex.

Mr Rees asked the jury: "What had happened to want to make him cover his tracks in that way? The prosecution suggests that the reason he was going to those lengths was that it was he who had savagely beaten her."

The defendant pleads not guilty to the murder and rape of Viktorija. He also denies sexual penetration of a corpse.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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