Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:27 UK

Girl, eight, says 10-year-old boys 'did not rape her'

The girl gave evidence by videolink from another room in the court
The girl gave evidence by videolink from another room in the court

An eight-year-old girl alleged to have been sexually assaulted by two 10-year-olds has told the Old Bailey that the boys did not rape her.

She said she had lied to her mother about what had happened because she had been "naughty" and was worried she would not get any sweets.

The girl was allegedly attacked in a field in west London in October 2009.

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

In cross-examination by defence counsel, the girl admitted that she had voluntarily been playing with the boys and had pulled her own underwear down while the boys exposed themselves to her.

Linda Strudwick, defending, asked the girl whether she had told her mother it was one of the boys that did it.

Andy McFarlane, BBC News, The Old Bailey
As the young complainant finished giving evidence, Mr Justice Saunders acknowledged she had been through "an ordeal".

During the course of the day, she had spent a total of about two hours and 20 minutes giving evidence - via videolink to spare her the courtroom's intimidating atmosphere.

The court had been shown videos of police interviews during which she described - in simple terms - being raped.

But, under cross-examination, she denied that first one boy - then the second - had forced her into anything.

The barristers tried to ask simple questions, usually getting short replies of "yes", "no", or "I don't remember".

Indeed, at one point, Mr Justice Saunders told her: "[Defence barrister] Miss Strudwick is a very nice lady but you don't have to say 'yes' to everything she asks."

At the end, he told the girl plainly: "No-one's suggesting you've done anything wrong at all. I'm the judge and I know."

She said: "You didn't want your mum to think you had been naughty?"

The girl, giving evidence from behind a screen, replied: "Yeah."

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, asked what the girl had been worried about and she replied: "No sweets if it [sic] found out I had been naughty."

The judge asked her if she had been naughty when she was with the boys and the girl replied: "Just a tiny bit."

The court has been told that the boys tried taking the girl to the third floor of a block of flats, then a nearby bin shed and into some bushes in order to find a "sufficiently secluded spot".

They ended up at the field, where both boys carried out the assault, prosecutors say.

None of the children involved in the trial can be identified because of their age.

When asked by the other boy's barrister, Chetna Patel, if she had played with him before, the girl replied that she had "sometimes".

"My sister used to play with him and she kept wanting to kiss him, so my mum wanted me to watch over her," she told the court.

Later, when she was asked whether the boy had pulled down her underwear, or carried out the sexual assault, she replied: "No."

'Scooter thrown'

However, when Miss Patel asked whether the boy had picked her up at any time, the girl replied: "I can't remember."

As she finished her evidence, the judge asked: "Can you now remember what went on in the field?"

The girl replied: "I can't remember."

The court had earlier seen two videos of police interviews with the girl.

During the second, she told an officer that the boys had thrown her scooter in some bushes and told her she would not get it back unless she did what they said.

When asked if she had told police during that second interview things that "didn't happen", the girl replied: "No."

Earlier, the girl had directed a video operator around a virtual reality reconstruction of her estate to show where the prosecution says she was taken in the run-up to the assault.

After identifying the flats, bin shed and bushes in question, she directed the operator to a gap in a fence leading to a field where the assault is alleged to have happened.

The trial continues.

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Girl, eight, 'raped by boys, 10'
12 May 10 |  London

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