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Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK


Schoolboy's head 'smashed with wrench'

Wesley was a "cheerful and affectionate" boy

A schoolboy was raped, strangled, and hit with a wrench by a music student who lured him home, a court has heard.

Dominic McKilligan, 19, of Newcastle upon Tyne, denies raping 11-year-old Wesley Neailey and murdering him last year.

The BBC's James Helm reports from Newcastle Crown Court
Prosecution lawyers told Newcastle Crown Court the boy was murdered to prevent him talking about the sex attack.

Prosecuting, John Milford QC told the jury Mr McKilligan had befriended Wesley so that he was confident to visit him at home, which he did on 5 June.

"In the garage the defendant raped the boy then killed him," he said.

Torn cheque

"Later in the same day he took the dead body into the countryside and dumped it where he hoped it would be unlikely to be found."

A ripped-up cheque made out to Wesley was later found in a waste bin at Mr McKilligan's home.

At first Mr McKilligan said he had lost his cheque book, then said he had written the cheque because Wesley, who also came from Newcastle, had offered to fix the brakes on his car, said the prosecution.

[ image: Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr McKilligan led police to the body]
Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr McKilligan led police to the body
The court heard that during a police interview Mr McKilligan admitted squeezing his hands around a bag he had put over Wesley's head.

When asked by an officer whether he had done that to stop him breathing, Mr McKilligan repeated: "To stop him breathing."

He was also said to have told detectives: "I took the boy out in my car somewhere and I dumped him in a ditch.

"I have told you already about kids getting into the garage. He fell on a ratchet, there was blood everywhere."

Mr McKilligan led police to Wesley's body, dumped near the village of Healey, Northumberland, 20 miles from the boy's home.

The court was told there is forensic evidence linking Wesley to Mr McKilligan's garage, including traces of blood on his car.

'Cheerful boy'

"We submit that this was a deliberate killing," said Mr Milford. "He wanted to kill him and he did."

The court heard Wesley was an affectionate, cheerful boy, but had what was thought to be epilepsy and was behind at school, unable to tell the time or tie his shoelaces.

"He was more trusting and less wary of strangers than others of his age would be," said Mr Milford.

"He seemed quick to strike up friendships with those who lived round about, particularly students."

Lollipop man

Wesley had been collected from school by his mother on the day in question and had gone out later on his pink and white mountain bike.

The last person to see him alive was a lollipop man who said the boy had gone in the direction of Mr McKilligan's house.

His bike was later found in a back lane near the defendant's house.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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