Published On: Fri, Feb 16th, 2018

Charlie Pearce raped a teenager then bludgeoned his victim’s head with a concrete slab

Charlie Pearce raped a teenager then bludgeoned his victim’s head with a concrete slab.

A teenage rapist who bludgeoned his victim’s head with a concrete slab then left her for dead in a park smiled today as he was locked up for life.

Charlie Pearce tried to murder the woman in Leicester’s Victoria Park on his 17th birthday last summer, having researched rape online.

Chilling CCTV footage captured him running through the park with a paving slab under his arm on the day he brutally attacked his victim.

A court heard he smashed her head with the slab, raped her and left her in undergrowth before hiding from police behind a parked car.

The woman – aged in her 20s and who cannot be legally named – was found around an hour later by a cyclist who spotted a pool of blood.

She ended up being in a medically-induced coma for two weeks, having suffered life-threatening skull fractures and bleeding on the brain.

Pearce had admitted two counts of rape, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and stealing the woman’s handbag as she walked alone.

However, he had denied meaning to kill her.

But he was found guilty of attempted murder following a trial at Leicester Crown Court, having left his victim within a “hair’s breadth” of death.

Today, he was handed a life sentence, with a minimum term of 11 years, by High Court Judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave at London’s Old Bailey.

Despite the term, he smiled as he left the dock.

The judge told the court the victim’s life had been left “hanging by a thread” following Pearce’s “horrific” act of “animalistic savagery”.

He said: “The sole issue in the trial was an intent to kill.

“The jury returned a unanimous verdict on attempted murder.”

He described Pearce as “exceptionally dangerous”, adding: “The defendant set out that evening to mark his 17th birthday to find a woman to attack and violently rape.”

The victim had earlier given a heartbreaking statement, saying she is still troubled that her screams went unanswered during the brutal attack.

In the emotional statement, read out at the Old Bailey, she said: “I do not remember screaming when I was assaulted though I am aware that screams were reported to the police by various people that night.

“My screams did not stop my attacker from causing me further harm and nor did they help me be found so I could receive medical care I needed.

“Knowing that my screams did not change anything for me that night continues to trouble me.”

The woman described how her life and ambitions had been “put on hold by Charlie Pearce’s criminal actions”.

“The six months which have now passed since I was discharged from hospital amounts to an ongoing period of time that can never be gotten back, time which has been taken from me and from how I live my life, without my permission and against my wishes,” she said.

“I am reminded on a daily basis – and sometimes multiple times a day – of the extensive trauma my body has endured and my mind cannot remember happening to me.”

The woman said she still suffers from “physical reminders of the damage that was done to me by a complete stranger”.

She went on: “I am mentally scarred as well as physically scarred.

“I have had thoughts about hurting myself and ending my life because I feel that I cannot live with the knowledge I have that what happened to me has happened to me.”

Phillip Bradley QC, mitigating, had asked the judge to take into consideration the defendant’s age when passing sentence.

He said: “It’s significant someone of such tender years could have committed such a serious crime.

“He has to come to terms with what he did.”

Mr Bradley added: “No-one has been more affected than the innocent victim of violence that was gratuitous as it was unprovoked.

“My client was entirely responsible for that violence and he accepts through me that condign punishment must follow.”

Pearce, of Clarendon Park, Leicester, had been out celebrating his 17th birthday on the night of the sickening attack in July 2017.

Leicester Crown Court heard he had dragged his victim into undergrowth, where she was eventually discovered by the passing cyclist.

She suffered “truly dreadful” head injuries at the hands of Pearce, and later awoke from her coma, unaware of what had happened.

The defendant was linked by “one-in-a-billion” DNA matches after his family contacted the police following a media appeal.

He showed no reaction as he was convicted last December. The jury took just three hours to find him guilty of attempted murder.

The victim attended the trial, looking tearful as she was comforted by a rape support worker who was beside her throughout.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told the defendant at the time: “I am going to adjourned sentencing on you in order to obtain reports.”

In disturbing footage, released after the guilty verdict, Pearce could be seen hiding from police following his attack on the woman.

He was recorded walking along a row of houses before stopping as he appeared to notice a police car being driven towards him.

He then hid behind a vehicle as the police car passed seconds later.

Pearce was filmed coming out of hiding to check if his coast was clear, before returning to his hiding place as more cars passed by.

He eventually left the scene.

In December, the judge lifted a court order that had prevented media organisations from naming the teenager.

Pearce had been formerly living at his mum’s house in Leicester, but was staying at his dad’s home, near the park, at the time of the attack.

Jurors heard how he had searched for Internet videos depicting the rape of “helpless” women in the weeks leading up to the incident.

They were told he was “fixated” on violent and controlling sex attacks.

In a previous court hearing, Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, described how the teenager was “loitering” and intended to kill the woman.

He said: “He was there loitering, he was looking for someone to attack. He has a fixation with violent rape.

“You’ve seen the Internet searches; it’s a disturbing fixation manifested in his interest to look at warped pornography and violent assault of helpless young women.

“An attack of this type had been festering in the back of his mind.

“He was seen running into the park carrying something heavy under his arm. He went to attack that woman armed with that weapon.”

He denied being the attacker following his arrest – and did not give evidence in court, the Leicester Mercury reported.

Mr Aspden said: “He was ruthless.

“This dangerous young man, for his own selfish reasons, carried out an attack of desolating wickedness.”

“Had he wanted to merely incapacitate and subdue her for sexual purposes, he could have done that.

“She came within a hair’s breadth of dying at his hands.

“He showed her no mercy.”

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Charlie Pearce raped a teenager then bludgeoned his victim’s head with a concrete slab