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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 13:42 GMT
Boy killed sister in house blaze
A teenager has been found guilty of murdering his 11-year-old sister after setting fire to his family home in south London.

He described plans to kill his family in a note entitled Operation New Life so he could be adopted by a rich family, the Old Bailey heard.

The boy, who was 14 at the time of the offence in 2004, called himself Dante, after a video game Goth character.

His parents and surviving sister had supported him throughout the trial.

He also attacked his 12-year-old brother with an axe leaving him with serious head injuries.

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, was found guilty of murder, attempted murder and arson.

Autism defence

The Old Bailey heard the Operation New Life note was found under his bed after the house fire in April 2004.

Sir Allan Green, for the prosecution, said it read: "Kill family. Lose memory. Get adopted by a rich couple. It all starts."

These matters have struck at the heart of the family and are heartbreaking for the family
Judge Richard Hone

It then went on to list the names of his parents and three siblings in a "List of Deaths".

He had initially claimed a gunman had forced him to attack his sleeping brother and set fire to the house but later admitted it was untrue.

The boy, now 16-years-old, was placed in custody while pre-sentence reports including a risk assessment to the public are prepared.

Seven psychiatrists could not agree after examining the boy. The defence had said he was autistic but the prosecution pointed out that he had glowing school reports and his parents had not noticed anything strange about him.

Prosecution psychiatrist Dr Paul Chesterman said the boy was showing psychopathic traits, although a full assessment could not be made until he was 18.

Dr Chesterman said he could not find any mental illness in the boy and cast doubt on claims by the youth that he had seen visions.

The boy's father, a telecoms engineer, told police his son wore black Goth clothes including a long Matrix-style coat.

Sir Allan said: "He said not everyone liked him at school because he did well academically and because he was a Goth and wore dark clothes."

His English teacher "described him as a model pupil and he gave me no trouble".

His parents and sister wept and hugged after the verdicts were read out.

Judge Richard Hone said: "No one can leave this case without paying tribute to his family.

"These matters have struck at the heart of the family and are heartbreaking for the family."

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