York & North Yorkshire

Katie Rough's parents praise Archbishop of York

Katie Rough Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Katie's family said the support they had received from the Archbishop of York and the wider community helped them cope with her death

The parents of murdered seven-year-old Katie Rough have praised the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, for helping them to cope after her death.

Katie was found with serious injuries on a playing field in Woodthorpe, in the city, on 9 January and died later in hospital.

A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with her murder.

Paul and Alison Rough said Dr Sentamu had been "their rock".

Image copyright Family issue
Image caption Her parents described the family dog, Walter, as Katie's best friend

Speaking to the BBC about the death of their daughter, the couple said they were living "day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute".

However, they said they had met the archbishop several times, and he had helped them come to terms with what happened.

"He's been great - he has kept in touch to make sure we are OK, and even invited us for a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast," Mrs Rough said.

Her husband said he had experienced some very dark times, but the archbishop had "made things a little bit better".

"It didn't feel awkward meeting the archbishop, he knew exactly what to say," he added.

Image copyright John Giles/PA
Image caption The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, led proceedings at Katie's funeral

The couple also praised the community for their support, and said they were holding a family fun day to say thank you to all the people in York.

They said people they had never met had come up to them and introduced themselves.

"Some had sad stories themselves - and some just gave us a cuddle," Mr Rough said.

In February, more than 300 people attended a public funeral for Katie held at York Minster, led by Dr Sentamu.

Katie's coffin rested overnight at the Archbishop of York's official residence, Bishopthorpe Palace, on the outskirts of the city.

Speaking at the time, Dr Sentamu said he sat with her overnight in his chapel so she would not be alone.

The family fun day will be held at York Acorn Rugby Club on 9 June.

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