Katie Rough death: Girl pleads guilty to manslaughter

A 16-year-old girl has pleaded guilty to killing seven-year-old Katie Rough.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Katie was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a playing field in Woodthorpe, York, on 9 January. She died later in hospital.

The girl did not speak as she entered her plea via video link at Leeds Crown Court. She denied a separate charge of murder.

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Nicholas Johnson QC, defending, asked the court if the charge of murder could be put to the girl again and she wrote her plea on a piece of paper.

Her solicitor told the court: “I can confirm she has indicated not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.”

Graham Reeds QC, prosecuting, said: “We are going to accept that plea of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.”

Katie was a pupil at Westfield Primary School in the Acomb area of York.

In the days after Katie’s death Tracey Ralph, head teacher at the school, described her as a “kind and thoughtful child who was well-liked by both pupils and staff”.

Katie’s funeral service took place at York Minister in February.

More than 300 people attended the service, which was led by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Her coffin was decorated with characters from the Dr Seuss children’s books.

During the funeral service Katie’s uncle described her as a “smart, fun, beautiful child”.

He said she had selective mutism, but that it did not stop her from having fun.

“Her family were her world,” he said.

“She loved her mum and dad but she was definitely described as a daddy’s girl.”


Katie Rough murder timeline:

  • 9 January – A seven-year-old girl is found seriously injured near a playing field in the Woodthorpe area of York. She was taken to hospital but died a short time later
  • 10 January – Police name Katie Rough as the dead girl and appeal for witnesses who may have seen two girls, aged 15 and 7
  • 11 January – A 15-year-old girl appears at York Magistrates’ Court charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a knife
  • 11 January – The prime minister and leader of the opposition both pay tribute to Katie in the House of Commons
  • 13 January – The 15-year-old charged with Katie’s murder appears at Leeds Crown Court via video-link and denies the charges against her
  • 16 January – Balloons released in Katie’s memory at her school, Westfield Primary School, on what would have been her 8th birthday
  • 30 January – Inquest opened and adjourned
  • 13 February – Public funeral in York Minster for Katie lead by the Archbishop of York
  • 16 February – Second appearance at Leeds Crown Court by teenage girl who formerly denies both charges through her solicitor
  • 3 July – Girl, now aged 16, admits manslaughter due to diminished responsibility on the first day of her trial for murder

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