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Assault girl's family thank public

16-year-old boy in court

The family of a 10-year-old girl who was violently attacked in Exmouth last week have thanked the public for their help and understanding over the past few days.

On Monday mornning a 16 year old boy appeared at Exeter Youth Court charged with her attempted murder and rape.

He's been in custody since Friday during what police say has been a complex investigation. The little girl was found in Marley Road in the Brixington area of the town in a distressed state.

The accused teenager, who can't be named because of his age, is being held until Thursday, when he'll face a judge at Plymouth Youth Court. Superintendent Matt Lawler, local policing commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon said: “We are able to confirm that the little girl at the centre of all our thoughts has now been discharged from hospital and is being cared for by her family. I would like to recognise the exceptional care she has received from specialist staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, and the close support provided by our specialist family liaison officers, which will continue in the months ahead. 

“The family have asked me to say on their behalf that ‘we would like to thank the community for their help and understanding in the ongoing police investigation. But we respectfully request privacy whilst we try and come to terms with what has happened.

"I would like to thank the public for their messages of support to the young girl and her family, for the positive feedback we have had to officers on patrol and at cordons and for the information we have received as part of this investigation.

“Clearly the events of the last few days have affected the entire community, and in particular young people and their parents. Since Thursday we have provided a dedicated extra policing presence, particularly in the area of Marley Road, parks and schools, and that will continue today and into tomorrow. 

“We issued advice last week to schools, and will be having further direct contact today. I would stress that no-one needs to change their school journey plans, and you will see additional officers present at drop-off and pick-up times at schools near to this incident. This is an extremely rare and isolated incident, and so the increased policing presence for next few days is solely to provide reassurance and support. Please approach the local officers with any questions or concerns you may have.”

We once again remind the public that it is vital that they do not speculate on the identity of either the victim or the suspect in this case.

Anyone who is alleged to be a victim of a sexual crime are automatically granted anonymity for life; regardless of their age and regardless of the outcome of any subsequent criminal trial. Any suspect under the age of 18 is also by law not allowed to be identified. These rules are not solely for media organisations to adhere to, they also apply to members of the public and includes information posted via social media.

This may be seen as interfering with a live investigation and an active criminal trial, and therefore could see those who do not adhere found in contempt of court. This means that they would find themselves called before a judge and landed with a criminal record.


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