West Park murder trial defendant will not give evidence

The youth accused of murdering 14-year-old Viktorija Sokolova will not give evidence to the jury during his trial.

Viktorija Sokolova was murdered in West Park, Wolverhampton
Viktorija Sokolova was murdered in West Park, Wolverhampton

The 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, is further charged with rape and having sex with a dead body.

His barrister Mr Adam Kane QC told Wolverhampton Crown Court at the conclusion of the prosecution case: "I shall not be calling the defendant. There will be some formal evidence which will be presented tomorrow."

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker confirmed with Mr Kane that the defendant had been advised that the hearing had reached the stage where he can give evidence to the court and if he chooses to remain silent 'the jury may draw such inferences as appear proper for his failure to do so'.

The judge then turned to the jury and confirmed: "He is not going to be giving evidence to you. There will be more evidence tomorrow but that is likely to be for only a relatively short period of time."

He then sent them home for the rest of the day which was taken up with legal discussion which had to take place in their absence.

Mr Justice Baker added that the jury might be in a position to retire to consider their verdict on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, has told the court how Viktorija went to a pre arranged meeting with a 16-year-old Facebook friend at the wooden pavilion, known as the 'black house,' in Wolverhampton's West Park - not far from her family's Mostyn Street, Whitmore Reans home - late on April 11.

She was last seen alive walking towards the park where her semi naked body was discovered by a dog walker on a bench shortly before 7am the following day.

Viktorija had been bludgeoned to death with over 20 blows by an attacker armed with a hammer-like weapon and had probably died within an hour of the injuries being inflicted, the court heard.

Mr Rees claimed the defendant had been in touch with the victim via Facebook Messenger during the final hours of her life to arrange the meeting because he 'wanted to have anal sex with her.'

The prosecutor told the jury: "The circumstances surrounding this sexual activity, including the horrific levels of violence deployed, plainly shows that what occurred was not done with Viktorija's consent."

The defendant denies murder, rape and having sex with a dead body.

The case will continues.

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