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Friday, December 5, 1997 Published at 16:17 GMT



UK

Child killer sentenced to 30 years
image: [ Kayleigh: her body was found dumped in the River Dee ]
Kayleigh: her body was found dumped in the River Dee

A man from Chester has been jailed for life for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl who disappeared from her home almost a year ago.

John O'Shaughnessy, 31, admitted raping Kayleigh Ward on the banks of the River Dee in Chester on December 19 before strangling her and throwing her body into the water at Mold Crown Court, North Wales, on Friday.


[ image: John O'Shaughnessy admitted raping Kayleigh Ward]
John O'Shaughnessy admitted raping Kayleigh Ward
The court had heard how O'Shaughnessy befriended Kayleigh when he and her family were living in the same homeless hostel in Chester.

Sentencing O'Shaughnessy, Mr Justice Maurice Kay told him: "It is difficult to imagine anything more depraved, cruel and cowardly than that."

The court was told that when police asked him why he had killed Kayleigh after raping her, O'Shaughnessy replied: "Because she was bound to have told people what I had done. It was the easiest way out of it."

The judge said he would be recommending to the Home Secretary that O'Shaughnessy serve a minimum of 30 years.

Kayleigh was last seen alive when she left her home to buy some chips. It was nearly two months after her disappearance before her body was washed up at low tide on the banks of the River Dee.






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