Page last updated at 10:37 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 11:37 UK

Youths jailed for killing woman

Helen Maughan
Helen Maughan's body was found two days after she disappeared

Two teenagers who sexually assaulted and killed a woman after a day of binge-drinking have been jailed.

Alex Young, 17, was sentenced to be detained for at least 15 years after his conviction for the murder of Helen Maughan, 24, in Colchester in May 2007.

Lewis Hayward, 14, convicted of manslaughter at Chelmsford Crown Court, was detained for four years.

The Old Bailey judge said he was shocked that Hayward "had enough money to buy alcohol and roam the streets".

Miss Maughan vanished on 18 May 2007 and her semi-naked body, with 22 separate injuries, was found in the River Colne two days later.

Post-mortem tests showed that she had died from a combination of head injuries and drowning.

Helen Maughan had been sexually assaulted before the boys, aged 13 and 16, killed her

At the time of the killing, the teenagers were 16 and 13 years old.

Passing sentence, the judge at the Old Bailey in London, Mr Justice Bean, said that Young and Hayward were only brought to justice when CCTV showed the pair with the murdered woman on the night of her death.

He said: "A 16-year-old drunken lout is sadly all too familiar in this court but I am old fashioned enough to find it shocking that a 13-year-old has money to buy alcohol and roam the streets of Colchester."

Hayward's barrister John Dood QC said: "This is a case of a child who lost his way and was expelled from school.

"He wandered the streets of Colchester drinking cheap alcohol and getting into the wrong company."


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