Tragic teen Viktorija Sokolova ‘didn’t want to be at home’

A 14-year-old girl who was murdered and raped after going to a late-night date in Wolverhampton’s West Park was reluctant to sleep at home, a jury heard.

Viktorija Sokolova
Viktorija Sokolova

Three days before the body of Viktorija ‘Tori’ Sokolova was found slumped semi-naked on a bench she had told a police officer that her home life was ‘not that good,’ Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Pc Neil McDonald interviewed the teenager when she was arrested at the home address of a friend after stealing her step father’s bank card and using it to withdraw £250 cash, said Mr Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting.

Lithuanian-born Viktorija explained she needed money to purchase casual clothes to replace those burned by her mother and had bought jeans, jumper, shoes and a hat, said the officer.

Viktorija, who had £76 of the stolen money left when detained, also told the officer that her mother had ‘beaten her up’ after the theft was discovered.

Police were considering what, if any, action to take over the alleged assault.

Pc McDonald told the jury: “I was concerned for the welfare of the girl.”

Floral tributes left at one of the gates to West Park after the murder

She was released after five hours in custody pending further investigation and referred to the Wolverhampton Youth Offending team, who arranged an interview with her that sadly never took place.

It was fixed for April 26, a fortnight after her death.

Meanwhile, social workers were making weekly checks on the girl because her family had reported her missing on several occasions, the court heard.

The teenager claimed her mother refused a request from ‘the Social’ to buy clothes to replace those set on fire and had ordered her to walk to school in future – an estimated hour-long slog to and from their home in Mostyn Street, Whitmore Reans, it was said.

A close friend told the court that the murder victim ‘just wanted to stop out but never said why’.

She added: “The first time she stayed at my house she told me: ‘I don’t really want to go home’. She kept on asking to stay at other people’s places.”

It was suggested that Viktorija was making plans to run away to London on the day her body was found.

One of two friends who spent the last day of her life with the tragic teenager, told the court: “She did not give a reason and did not say who she was going to stay with.

“She told me ‘I can’t believe this is going to be my last day before I go to London. I’m not going for ever, just going to stay for a few months’.”

Victorija was in contact via Facebook with a 16-year-old youth and had arranged to meet him at the ‘black house’ – the wooden pavilion in Wolverhampton’s West Park late in the evening on April 11.

She sent one message that asked ‘What are we going to do at West Park?’

He allegedly replied ‘Do you smoke weed? We smoke there and talk’.

The death rocked the community

The court has heard that a post-mortem examination revealed no evidence that she had taken drugs.

Her two friends and their relatives had all warned Viktorija not to go to the late night rendezvous.

Her semi-naked body was discovered seven hours later draped across a bench around 150 metres from the proposed meeting point.

The prosecution claim the 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be identified because of his age, raped the victim and bludgeoned her to death with more than 20 blows from a hammer-like weapon around midnight on April 11.

He maintains the victim consented to have sexual intercourse and was alive and well when he left her in the park, the court heard.

He denies murder, rape and having sex with a corpse. The case continues.

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