Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Connor Hodgson, 16, facing life in jail after motiveless attack on Stockton girl
A 16-YEAR-OLD boy nearly killed a ten-year-old girl in a vicious and sustained assault that left a community in shock – and him facing a lifetime behind bars.
With chilling similarities to the James Bulger case, the youngster was led to a remote spot where she was subjected to a monstrous and seemingly motiveless attack.
She was throttled unconscious and repeatedly struck about the head before being left for dead by Connor Hodgson, 16, while he went on a drink and drugs binge.
Until yesterday, Hodgson could not be named, but a judge at Teesside Crown Court agreed to overturn the banning order because the case was so serious.
The Northern Echo can now reveal the attacker’s identity and how he has a history of warped sexual behaviour and petty crime as a result of being abused as a child.
At teatime on April 7, this year, after smoking cannabis, he led the frail girl from her close-knit neighbourhood to a spot by the River Tees, in Stockton.
Several hours later, the youngster’s mother reported her missing and after a huge search involving police and residents, she was found confused and covered in blood.
Anthony Hawks, prosecuting, told the court she suffered a fractured skull and multiple cuts and bruises to her head, neck and jaw. He said she had been hit seven times to the back of the head and four to the face and that a severe degree of pressure had been applied to her neck.
Pathologist Dr Mark Egan said: “The head injury and the pressure to the neck were potentially fatal.
“The absence of any defensive injuries would suggest that the head injury or pressure to the neck had immobilised [the girl] in what was a potentially fatal assault.”
The victim was in hospital for nearly a week before she was well enough to be interviewed by detectives. All she could say was: “Connor, Connor did this.”
She later described being suffocated with a hand around her throat and described the spot where a headband and bracelet were recovered during a police search.
Mr Hawks said: “She said the defendant put his arm around her neck and it prevented her from breathing, and at that point she had, as she put it, gone to sleep.
“She said when she woke up, the defendant wasn’t there, and then described wandering about. She appears to have no direct recollection of the sustained assault.”
After his arrest, Hodgson claimed to have no memory of what happened and initially denied involvement until security camera pictures showed he was lying.
He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and yesterday became one of the youngest people in the country to be detained indefinitely for public protection.
Judge Peter Fox told the teenager, from Stockton, that he will be freed from jail only when Parole Board officials consider he is no longer a serious risk to the public.
He said: “You cannot know when you may be released.
You will have to demonstrate by increased maturity and behaviour that you can safely be released into the community.
“You may have sustained deprivation and ill-treatment, but it is nothing on the scale you administered to this little child, so it remains to be seen what the future holds.”