London - A 15-year-old girl has been found guilty of murdering a mother and daughter in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
The teenager, who was 14 at the time, cannot be named.
She was found guilty after her 15-year-old boyfriend, admitted killing the two women at the beginning of the trial. The pair are the youngest couple ever convicted of murder in Britain.
Elizabeth Edwards, who was 49, and her 13-year-old daugher Katie were stabbed in the neck as they slept at home in April.
The prosecution had alleged during the trial that although the girl did not physically take part in the killings, she was “as guilty of murder” as he was. A jury of seven men and five women at Nottingham Crown Court took just two-and-a-half hours to reach the verdicts.
The girl had denied murdering the victims on the grounds of diminished responsibility. A psychiatrist for the defence had said she was suffering from a mental disorder.
But the Crown argued she was not mentally ill at the time of the crime.
The Daily Mail reports that after the killings the couple watched the teen romance Twilight vampire films, ate ice cream and tea cakes, and had sex.
They had plotted the attacks in meticulous detail. After their arrest, the girl told police: "I’d felt like murdering for quite a while."
The Daily Mail says that at the trial the girl was accused of showing "no hint of remorse" and of being "the driver" behind the killings.
Judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, noted the crimes were "exceptionally grave, rare and possibly unique in recent times, given the relative youth of the defendants".
The teenagers hatched a plan to murder Edwards in her home in Spalding, Lincolnshire, because the girl had "a grudge".
The sweethearts met "night after night" in a McDonald’s and on a riverbank spot to discuss what they were going to do.
During a police interview the girl admitted: "I was carrying on as normal at school... No one knew about the plan... I was looking forward to it."
The teenagers gained access to the victims’ house on the night of April 13. The boy had brought six kitchen knives and selected the largest blade. He stabbed Edwards several times and smothered her with a pillow. The girl later noted "a gun would have been easier".
Katie, asleep in the next room, was stabbed, smothered and wrapped in a sheet as the girl "didn’t like the smell of blood".
The young couple then took a bath to wash off the blood. They told police they planned to kill themselves at 2pm the next day with 80 tablets and alcohol, but that it just "didn’t happen".
The girl said of Mrs Edwards: "She deserved it. I’m glad she’s dead even though I’m in a sticky situation... neither of us felt that bad about it."
As the verdict was read at Nottingham Crown Court, the bespectacled girl stared ahead, dabbing her face with a tissue.
The couple were described in court as a "time bomb". Dr Philip Joseph, consultant criminal psychiatrist, said: "A group dynamic can lead you to a course of action you would never have contemplated on your own. Bonnie and Clyde... them against the world.’
The pair had previously run away together, and were found after five days living in a tent.
The boy, whose mother died when he was five, had suffered a turbulent home life. Described as a "loner’, he was relentlessly bullied at school.
The girl was described as "popular’, but isolated herself with her boyfriend, and lost friends. She had had a spell in care.
Describing her apathy towards the murders, prosecutor Peter Joyce QC said: "Afterwards she said she felt 'a bit sad'... as if it was a goldfish or a hamster."
Both murderers face indefinite detention, the juvenile equivalent of an adult’s life term. They will be sentenced next month.
A family feud led to the victims being laid to rest in different locations, with separate funerals, on separate days.
The Independent, Daily Mail