Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 20:13 UK

Girl, eight, 'raped by two 10-year-old boys' in London

An eight-year-old girl was raped by two 10-year-old boys while out playing with her younger sister near their west London home, the Old Bailey has heard.

The girl, who was allegedly raped in a field, later told her mother what had happened and was taken to hospital complaining of stomach pains.

The boys, now aged 10 and 11, each deny two charges of rape and two charges of attempted rape of a child under 13.

The offences are alleged to have happened in October 2009.

The jury was told that the court's sitting hours had been shortened and other steps would be taken because the defendants were so young.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, sat where the court clerk normally sits to be on the same level as the boys.

This case concerns rape by two boys still at primary school of a girl even younger than them
Rosina Cottage, prosecuting

Rosina Cottage, prosecuting, told the court the mother went looking for the girl after her younger sister, who she had been playing with, returned home without her.

Miss Cottage told the court: "This case concerns rape by two boys still at primary school of a girl even younger than them.

"Together they took her to different locations near where they lived in order to find a sufficiently secluded spot to assault her.

"The events leading to the alleged rapes all took place in and around a block of flats and they ended in a field."

Miss Cottage that said when the victim's mother and younger sister went to fetch her they came across the mother of the younger defendant and a five-year-old playmate.

When the woman asked where her son was the playmate "said that he was in a nearby field and that he was with (the girl) and that he was hurting her", said Miss Cottage.

Andy McFarlane, BBC News, The Old Bailey
Thousands of cases have passed through the historic precincts of London's Central Criminal Court, but it has seen few like this.

Under the high ceiling of courtroom number seven, the two defendants look tiny. Mr Justice Saunders has dispensed with wig and gown - ordering the barristers to do the same to make the experience less intimidating for the youngsters involved.

Dressed in a suit, he does not look down from his bench, instead sitting at a less imposing height in the seat usually occupied by the court clerk.

Opposite, the two children accused of such grave offences are not locked in the dock but sit in the back row of the court, alongside their solicitors - and their mothers.

Acknowledging the case's "unique difficulties", the judge even changed the court hours to mirror a primary school day, with 40-minute sessions and frequent breaks.

He pointed over to the field and the women went to find the children.

When she found her daughter, the mother "could see things were not right with her", Miss Cottage said.

She told the court the mother later asked the girl what was wrong and the girl told her mother that the boys had taken her to the block of flats where they had moved the bins in a bin shed so she could not get out.

Later she was allowed to come out and taken to a field where the assault took place even though the girl told them "to leave her alone".

Miss Cottage said the girl's mother spotted the older boy and asked what happened but he replied "nothing".

The younger boy then joined them but before he could be asked about the incident he is alleged to have said: "I didn't touch her."

The court was told the older boy then added: "It wasn't me. It was (the other boy)."

The girl was taken to hospital because she was complaining of pains in her stomach, the court heard.

She gave evidence via videolink from another room of the court and told how she was taken to the bin shed before being taken to the field.

In a second video interview, the girl said one of the boys had thrown her scooter into a bush and told her she would not get it back unless she did what they said.

The trial continues.

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