A schoolgirl sent messages to her family via Facebook pleading for help while she was being raped in woods near her home. The 14-year-old used her mobile phone to write ‘help’ and ‘raping me’ on her sister’s profile page on the site, a court was told. But although the messages alerted her mother and sister, who eventually discovered her collapsed by the roadside, they were too late to stop her ordeal.
Yesterday a judge criticised the police and Crown Prosecution Service after it emerged they had missed three chances to catch her attacker, David Edgerton, 22, in the months leading up to the rape. Judge Merfyn Hughes QC said the girl may have been spared had they apprehended or prosecuted Edgerton, of Connah’s Quay, north Wales, for an earlier rape, an attempted rape and an attack on a girl of ten.
Mold Crown Court was told that Edgerton, a heroin addict, was prowling Leeswood, north Wales, looking for his next victim on the afternoon of August 22 last year. He approached a 13-year-old girl sitting by a community centre and asked her for directions to a pub. She refused to accompany him and he left when a male friend of the girl’s arrived to meet her. But less than two hours later Edgerton saw the 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a chip shop and asked her to show him where the pub was.
John Philpotts, prosecuting, told the court: ‘As they walked in the village he held her tightly, grabbed her hair and threatened her not to raise the alarm. ‘He dragged her into Blast Woods where she was raped. ‘Despite her ordeal, she was able to send messages which said “help” and “raping me” from her mobile phone on to the Facebook site of her sister. She got messages to her family to try to explain where she was.’ By this time, the girl’s mother and sister were looking for her because she had not come home. She later told police she could hear them calling her while she was being attacked.