Viktorija Sokolova: Boy, 16, GUILTY of rape and murder of Wolverhampton schoolgirl

A 16-year-old boy has been convicted of the rape and murder of Wolverhampton schoolgirl Viktorija Sokolova.

Viktorija Sokolova, left, was murdered in West Park, bottom right. Top right is CCTV of Viktorija shown at the two-week trial.
Viktorija Sokolova, left, was murdered in West Park, bottom right. Top right is CCTV of Viktorija shown at the two-week trial.

Viktorija was mercilessly bludgeoned to death after being lured by her attacker to a late-night rendezvous in the wooden pavilion in Wolverhampton's West Park in April.

Today her killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to his age, faces life behind bars after being found guilty by a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Appalling injuries

Blood staining in the West Park pavilion, known as the 'black house', showed that 14-year-old victim Viktorija had moved about while desperately trying to avoid the blows that rained down on her and was repeatedly hit after being clubbed to the floor.

WATCH: Final images of Viktorija on CCTV

CCTV footage captured the final pictures of Viktorija alive.

The video shows Viktorija in Wolverhampton on the morning of April 11, shopping with friends in the city later in the day and on her way to West Park, where she was killed late that night.

She suffered appalling injuries while being struck more than 20 times.

Many of the blows were delivered with a hammer-like weapon that has not been recovered, the court heard.

The victim was then dragged 150 metres away to where her semi-naked body was discovered draped over a bench by a dog walker shortly before 7am the following morning.

It is unclear precisely when she was raped during the nightmare ordeal.

Viktorija's mother Karolina Valantiniene outside Wolverhampton Crown Court
Mother and stepfather Karolina Valantiniene and Saida Valantinas were accused of being responsible for Viktorija's death by barristers in court

Facebook friends

Viktorija knew her killer.

He had broken a silence of several of months to renew Facebook contact with her eight days before the murder.

She was bombarded with requests to meet after dark in the park so they could smoke cannabis, talk and hang out together.

Balloons tied to West Park in memory of Viktorija, who was born in Lithuania
Photos of Viktorija tied to fencing around West Park

In fact he was determined to have sex with her and was trawling the internet for information regarding sex ahead of the fatal attack late on April 11.

The victim ignored repeated warnings from friends and their relatives who realised the danger of her accepting the invitation.

He sent her a message at 10.35pm saying he was on his way and she left a friend's house shortly afterwards.

WATCH: Mother and stepfather open up about death

In this video, Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield explains how the brutality of Viktorija's death shocked the police team investigating her murder.

Afterwards, Viktorija's mother and stepfather describe the awful moment they found out their 14-year-old daughter's body had been found.

Both were caught on CCTV heading separately to the park near her home in Mostyn Street, Whitmore Reans.

The defendant had a rucksack and, two hours later, was pictured leaving the park after changing his trousers which must have been blood bespattered after the brutal beating he gave the defenceless girl.

Deleted material

He left his home with the rucksack at around 1.30am but did not have it when he returned. He also deleted incriminating material from his iPhone.

This included sexual material as well as Google search requests for advice on how to permanently delete a Facebook account such as his.

A forensic tent in the park, which was closed for a week in the aftermath of the murder
Forensic officers examine the wooden pavilion, where Viktorija met her killer the night she died

Police have not found items of clothing worn by him when he entered the park such as the tell-tale trainers that matched footprints left in blood at the scene of the killing.

He was arrested at his home on April 13, 24 hours after the body was found.

Full coverage of the trial:

The violence is presumed to have been triggered by Viktorija rebuffing the sexual advances of the teenager, who had no previous convictions.

He claimed to be suffering from depression and anxiety but a psychiatric report revealed nothing in his mental state that could be used in defence of his horrifying attack.

No reaction

Today the defendant stood stone faced in the dock as the jury delivered its unanimous verdicts after seven hours and 24 minutes of deliberation. The trial had lasted two weeks.

He remained emotionless when the judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, told him: "You have been convicted of murder and rape.

"There is only one sentence I can impose on you but I have to consider the appropriate minimum term and I am going to call for all pieces of information about your so I can make a proper decision on the next occasion."

Tributes outside West Park

The judge added: "I am well aware of the devastating impact this murder has had on the family of the deceased and the local community."

He thanked the jury for their work during a trial he felt they would have found disturbing.

Det Insp Caroline Corfield, who led the police investigation, revealed the mother and stepfather of the murder victim had never been suspects and said of the defendant: "There was no clue he could commit this violent act but once we understood what he was capable of, I was not the only person on the inquiry who lost sleep over the possibility of him being acquitted and walking free from court."

A variety of reports will now be drawn up on the murderer and will be considered by the court before he is sentenced on February 22.

He was remanded in custody until then.

Serious Case Review

Meanwhile a Serious Case Review is under way and expected to be published next year.

Linda Sanders, Independent Chair of Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board, said: "This was an horrific crime and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Viktorija Sokolova.

"Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board is currently undertaking a multi-agency Serious Case Review which is looking at what involvement, if any, local agencies had with Viktorija and her family, and is seeking to establish whether any lessons can be learned which may improve the way they address potential risks to other children in the future.

“It is planned that the Serious Case Review will be published next year."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News