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Viktorija Sokolova: West Park killer rapist named as Ayman Aziz

Wolverhampton | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

The teenager who raped and murdered 14-year-old Viktorija Sokolova with such savagery it shocked the nation can today finally be identified as Ayman Aziz.

Viktorija Sokolova, inset, was found bludgeoned to death in Wolverhampton's West Park

Aziz was aged 16 when he contacted Viktorija online and lured her to West Park, where he subjected her to horrific levels of violence in a two-hour attack before dumping her body on a bench.

He was handed a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 19 years behind bars at Wolverhampton Crown Court in February after being found guilty of her murder.

The police mugshot of Ayman Aziz, who will spend at least 19 years behind bars

After the conviction the judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, lifted a ban imposed on the naming of the defendant because of his age following an application by the Express & Star and other media organisations.

But the ban was immediately re-imposed when Mr Adam Kane QC, representing Kane, appealed against the decision.

'Bullied and threatened'

The reporting restrictions have now been dropped after the Lord Chief Justice Baron Burnett of Maldon, sitting with Mr Justice Warby and Mr Justice Edis at the Court of Appeal in London, dismissed the application.

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Mr Kane argued the ban should not be lifted because it would have an adverse effect on Aziz's rehabilitation.

Tributes quickly gathered outside West Park

He also said the teenager, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had been "bullied and threatened" in detention and has stopped attending educational classes as a result.

But the Lord Chief Justice and two other senior judges rejected the challenge, meaning he can now be named.

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The judges also rejected an appeal by Aziz, who watched the hearing over a video link from the young offenders' institution where he is detained, against his minimum term.

Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, who led the murder investigation, said: “I am pleased with the outcome of the hearing today.

"It means a lot to Viktorija’s family that the name of her killer has been made public."

Lord Burnett said full reasons for the Court of Appeal's decision will be given at a later date.

Three-week trial

The teenager denied any wrongdoing during a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court but was found guilty by a jury on December 14 last year over the attack on Viktorija.

Lithuanian-born Viktorija - described in court by her mother as her "one and only" - was contacted by Aziz on Facebook Messenger and lured to Wolverhampton's West Park late on April 11 2018.

Karolina Valantiniene, mother of Viktorija, outside Wolverhampton Crown Court

She was savagely beaten in a pavilion before being dragged 150 yards to a bench, where her body was later discovered by a dog walker.

Sentencing Aziz, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the teenager carried out the "truly shocking" attack after watching pornography and carrying out internet research.

He said: "You carried out a brutal rape and murder with truly shocking violence.

'Not chance'

"What took place in West Park in this city was not a matter of happy chance. It had been carefully planned by you to get Viktorija to meet you in isolation.

"You had planned to rape her and batter her to death with a weapon which was brought with you.Your mental illness may have been a contributory factor but did not significantly reduce your culpability."

Aziz was caught on CCTV as he attempted to cover up the offence by hiding bloodied clothing, having deleted Facebook messages and hurled his victim's phone towards a lake.

WATCH: Final images of Viktorija on CCTV

This 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.

CCTV shows Viktorija Sokolova's final moments

Detectives believe he used a hammer, which has never been found, to launch the assault on his victim - who suffered a fractured skull, brain injuries and shattered vertebrae.

Throughout his trial, Aziz showed no remorse, gave no evidence in his defence and simply nodded as he was ordered by the judge to be taken to the cells.

Balloons were tied to the park fence during a gathering in VIktorija's memory

In a victim impact statement, Viktorija's mother Karolina Valantiniene said her daughter had "many beautiful plans for the future" - learning how to drive, finishing school - and she had spoken of "buying her a beautiful prom dress".

She added: "Many times, I've asked why are there such terrible people on the Earth.

WATCH: Mother and stepfather open up about death

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

Murder of Viktorija Sokolova

"To realise you don't have your child any more, and never will again. Because she was my one and only daughter.

"Someone dared to raise his hand against her and take her away from me. Why?"

WATCH: Shocked West Park visitors pay tribute to Viktorija Sokolova

West Park visitors speak of shock following murder of Viktorija Sokolova

Full coverage of the trial:

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