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Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 19:59 GMT


Seaman convicted of Lauren murder

Lauren was found dead at her home at RAF Coltishall, Norfolk

A merchant seaman with a violent past has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's five-year-old daughter.

The BBC's Stephen Cape: "Sate had a violent past"
Graham Sate, 25, from Grimsby in Lincolnshire, had denied murdering Lauren Creed on 21 October last year. He was also convicted of cruelty.

The girl's mother, RAF Senior Aircraftwoman Sharon Creed, 25, had already admitted two charges of cruelty to her daughter.

[ image: Graham Sate: Violent history]
Graham Sate: Violent history
Lauren died at her mother's home at RAF Coltishall, Norfolk, on 21 October, after a blow that crushed her liver against her spine, Norwich Crown Court was told.

The pathologist who examined the girl's body found she had also suffered a broken rib and recorded more than 167 bruises on her body.

The jury heard that Sate told paramedics and police that Lauren had accidentally tumbled down stairs and then lost consciousness about an hour after appearing to recover.

The injuries, doctors said, were inflicted during a "sustained attack" on Lauren, and she was probably punched, kicked or stamped on.

In the three months leading up to Lauren's death, social workers and police were aware of concerns raised about her, the jury heard.

[ image: Sharon Creed: Amitted two charges of cruelty]
Sharon Creed: Amitted two charges of cruelty
However, Lauren was allowed to remain with Sate and her mother because she was never officially classed as being "at risk".

Neighbours told the jury that on the morning of Lauren's death they heard noises coming from the bedroom where Sate and Creed slept.

One neighbour became so concerned about Lauren's welfare when she saw the little girl covered in bruises, that she recorded a conversation in which Lauren said: "Daddy punched me in the belly today."

The National Society for the Protection of Children said the recording of Lauren would occupy a "haunting place in the archives of child abuse".

"The tape recording made of little Lauren is testimony to the horrendous treatment she went through during her short and tortured life," said NSPCC director Jim Harding.

Sate had only been out of prison for less than a year when he killed Lauren.

He was sent to a young offenders' institution for seven years in 1993 for the attempted murder of Carol Wilkinson six years ago.

He was released in December 1996 after serving two-thirds of his sentence, and was on licence to Humberside Probation Service until late July 1997.

'Jekyll and Hyde'

Mrs Wilkinson, who suffered a punctured lung after being stabbed six times, described Sate as "a Jekyll and Hyde".

"He intended to murder me," she said. "I'll never get over it. He's evil."

Sate will be sentenced on Friday.

He could serve up to 30 years in prison.

Detective Superintendent Malcolm Chambers from Norfolk Police said: "Any person who can inflict those sort of injuries on a five-year-old girl and then blame the mother, deserves life imprisonment."

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