[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 12:11 GMT
The night terror came to town
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Six men have been convicted of murdering Mary-Ann Leneghan, who was abducted and killed after being held in a hotel and subjected to a horrific ordeal. What led to such a sickening crime?

Mary-Ann Leneghan's father
Mary-Ann's father Bertie attended her killers' trial
Reading is known as a leafy university town in Berkshire, popular with commuters and hi-tech companies, but the town's prosperous exterior masks a seedy side.

Mary-Ann was abducted as she sat in a car in the car park of a disused pub in the Oxford Road district.

This area has struggled to shake off its association with crack houses and brothels, and suffers from a lot of the social problems seen in London and other big British cities.

As Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, admitted: "Mary-Ann (and her friend) were not without their problems. Mary-Ann was bunking off school, neither had a job. They were certainly not the sort of girls who would have been tucked up at home at 10 o'clock at night."

The gang in the dock
The defendants all tried to play down their involvement

South London drug dealer Adrian Thomas was drawn to the Oxford Road area of Reading like a bee to a flower.

In early April 2005 he rented a cheap flat in the name of Michael Brown and began dealing drugs to the local addicts.

Two weeks later Thomas was attacked in the flat by a number of local men, who robbed him of money, a mobile phone and his stash of drugs.

He had been stabbed a number of times but after being treated in hospital he was discharged. Thomas, known by the streetname Redz, did not report the incident to the police.

He retreated to south London nursing his pride and told friends he had been "set up" by a girl who had visited his flat.

"She must have left the door open," he said.

Thomas vowed to return to Reading to get his revenge on the girl, and her friend.

Mary-Ann Leneghan
Mary-Ann was found dead in Reading's Prospect Park on 7 May

Mr Latham said: "He got together a group of men and they drove from south London. They were armed with various weapons and they set off for Reading in the middle of the night."

Thomas had recruited five men: brothers Joshua and Jamaille Morally, Michael Johnson, Indrit Krasniqi and Llewellyn Adams.

In the early hours of Saturday 7 May their car, driven by Adams, pulled up in the car park of the Wallingford Arms.

Dragged by their hair

They found Mary-Ann and her friend drinking wine and sitting in a car belonging to a female friend called Shazia Ishaq.

"Just the girls we've been looking for," said Thomas.

Mary-Ann and her friend were dragged out of the car by the hair and bundled into the boot of the gang's car, which was already full with six men inside.

Shazia only escaped by lying about being pregnant.

The gang drove to the Abbey guest house, where Thomas had stayed previously under the name of Michael Brown.

While Thomas and another man booked in at reception the other members of the gang manhandled the girls in through a back exit and took her to room 19.

Wallingford Arms
The girls were abducted from this pub car park

By now it was around 1am.

Room 19 was a small room with an en suite shower cubicle.

Most of the room was taken up by a double bed and as soon as the gang entered they began laying towels down on the floor to soak up the inevitable blood.

For the next three hours the girls were subjected to "concentrated acts of violent degradation", including rape and other sexual abuse, beatings and verbal threats.

They were also forced to smoke heroin and crack cocaine.

Mary-Ann's friend told the court the gang were armed with two guns and a number of knives and they also boiled water, added sugar to it and then poured it over both girls' bodies.

'You're going to die'

Mr Latham said: "At times some of the men would ask Thomas for permission to do certain things - whether they could hit or stab the girls. He would say 'Yeah, it's too late to help them now'."

They told the girls they were going to Prospect Park and that was where they were going to die. Imagine how that felt
Richard Latham QC

Mr Latham told the jury: "Joshua and Jamaille Morally, Thomas and Michael Johnson told the girls they were going to Prospect Park and that was where they were going to die.

"Imagine how that felt."

It was getting light, and at one point Jamaille Morally said: "Come on, let's do it. If we leave it any later, people will be up and about and they'll see."

The girls were driven to the park and were then led into the woods.

Point blank range

Moments later Johnson began stabbing Mary-Ann. She suffered a total of 40 wounds.

Jamaille Morally then turned to Mary-Ann's friend and said: "Are you ready to die?"

Killers' car caught on camera
The killers' car was caught on a speed camera travelling back into London

She was then shot in the head at point blank range but miraculously the bullet disintegrated on impact and did not penetrate her skull.

When the killers had left, Mary-Ann's friend got up and began staggering through the woods in the opposite direction.

Shortly after 5am she stumbled into the street and was nearly run over.

A passer-by came to her rescue and called 999.

Shortly afterwards, police found Mary-Ann's body and a full-scale murder inquiry began which eventually led to the gang.

See the gang who murdered Mary-Ann Leneghan

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific