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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Teenager admits killing schoolboy
Joe Geeling
Joe's body was found in Whitehead Park
A 14-year-old boy has admitted killing 11-year-old Joe Geeling, who was found stabbed to death near his home.

Police launched a massive search for the youngster, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, after he failed to return from school.

But his body was discovered in Whitehead Park, Bury on 2 March.

The teenager, who appeared at Manchester Crown Court, did not enter a plea but prosecution and defence teams said he admitted killing Joe.

The defendant, who appeared in court with his mother, spoke only to confirm his name during the hearing.

'Mental state'

Wearing a light blue shirt, navy blue trousers and a tracksuit top, he was excused from sitting in the dock and instead sat next to his mother at the back of the courtroom.

Prosecutor Alistair Webster QC told the court: "The charge has not as yet been put to the defendant, but I understand the defence do not wish the charge to be put to him today.

"The issues in the case are not around who did it but are around the mental state and capacity of the defendant at the time of the killing of Joe Geeling."

Hunt triggered

The hunt for Joe was triggered after he went missing on the way home from St Gabriel's Roman Catholic High School on the afternoon of 1 March.

Police, firefighters, a mountain rescue team and members of Joe's family searched for the youngster in freezing temperatures.

His body was eventually discovered at 11am the following day in a wooded gully at the side of Whitehead Park in Ainsworth, Bury. A post-mortem examination revealed he was stabbed to death.

Hundreds of mourners, including the search team, attended his funeral in Bury on 31 March.

'Public interest

Mr Justice David Clarke told the court that there was "some public interest" in knowing the teenager was responsible for Joe's death.

He said: "It may be reported that there is no dispute as to who it was that inflicted those injuries."

The teenager was remanded back into secure local authority accommodation until a trial at Manchester Crown Court on 16 October.

The trial is expected to last between five to 10 days with a pre-trial review earlier in the month.

Joe Geeling's father pays tribute to his son

Schoolboy murder accused in court
10 Apr 06 |  Manchester
Boy remanded over schoolboy death
06 Mar 06 |  Manchester

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