Charlie Pearce 'marked 17th birthday' with 'animalistic' rape

  • Published
Media caption,

CCTV shows Charlie Pearce on the night of the attack with a slab under his arm

A teenager who "marked his 17th birthday" by bludgeoning a woman with a paving slab before raping her has been given a life sentence.

"Animalistic" Charlie John Pearce was found guilty of attempted murder at Leicester Crown Court last year.

The court heard he had searched the internet for videos showing attacks on "helpless" women before the attack.

Pearce, who had denied trying to kill the woman but admitted rape, was told he must serve a minimum of 11 years.

Image source, Leicestershire Police
Image caption,
Pearce was captured on CCTV on the night the attack happened

Sentencing at the Old Bailey, Justice Charles Haddon-Cave described Pearce as "exceptionally dangerous" and said he attacked the woman with "animalistic savagery".

"The defendant set out that evening to mark his 17th birthday to find a woman to rape and violently attack," he said.

"[The victim] could remember nothing of her ordeal, her life had been hanging on a thread."

Image caption,
Charlie Pearce's defence said it is "of significant concern" someone of his age "could commit such a serious crime"

The court heard the attack in Victoria Park in Leicester took place at about 23:35 on 3 July, after Pearce had celebrated his birthday in a pub.

Youths nearby witnessed the initial struggle and called 999 but a police patrol could not identify the location, the court heard.

The woman - who cannot be identified - was found with "truly dreadful" injuries about an hour later by a passing cyclist.

Leicestershire Police released a "remarkably clear" CCTV image of Pearce running towards the woman holding the slab.

He was recognised by his own family who then contacted police.

Pearce - who could only be named when a court order was lifted - denied intending to kill the woman, but had admitted two counts of rape.

He also admitted causing grievous bodily harm and stealing the woman's handbag which he later burned.

Image caption,
The victim was dragged into bushes near an entrance to the park

Pearce's victim said she has been "mentally and physically scarred" by the attack.

In a victim impact statement read out in court she said she still has bald patches and suffers jaw pain and loss of hearing following the attack.

"I am reminded on a daily basis - and sometimes multiple times a day - of the extensive trauma my body has endured and my mind cannot remember," she said.

"I have had thoughts about hurting myself and ending my life because I feel that I cannot live with the knowledge I have that what happened to me has happened to me."

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