Girl, 14, 'who was raped and murdered in park by boy, 16, was found with her stepdad’s semen in her knickers’, defence claims

Viktorija Sokolova, 14, was battered to death with a hammer at West Park in Wolverhampton before her killer had sex with her dead body.

Stepdad Saidas Valantinas' semen was also found on a pair of white jeans belonging to the teenager which were found in a bin in the park grounds along with the underwear.

Valantinas strongly denied sexually assaulting his stepdaughter when questioned in court.

Mum Karolina Valantiniene, a factory worker, and and her husband Valantinas, were giving evidence in the trial of a 16-year-old male youth.

Mr Valantinas told jurors he did not know how his DNA came to be on either item of his stepdaughter's clothing.

The boy on trial, who cannot be named because of his age, is accused of rape, murder and sexual penetration of a corpse, after the youngster's body was discovered partially-clothed by a dog walker in the Wolverhampton's West Park on April 12.

Adam Kane QC, representing the accused, asked Mr Valantinas: "Is the real reason why your DNA is disposed as it is, on Vikorija's knickers, because you found her in the park and that you sexually assaulted her?"

He replied: "This is nonsense, I deny this completely."

Mr Kane then asked: "Was the consequence of the sexual assault, that there then followed a violent assault, did you kill her?"

The farm labourer replied: "I did not do this, this is nonsense."

When Mrs Valantiniene was asked by Mr Kane: "Are you seeking to protect your husband's involvement in the fatal assault on Viktorija?", she replied: "No, this is nonsense."

When asked "did you kill your daughter", she replied: "No."

Then asked if her husband had killed her daughter, she again replied: "No".

Jurors at Wolverhampton Crown Court had previously heard the schoolgirl had been subjected to what a prosecutor described as "horrific" levels of violence.

It is alleged the youth used a hammer-like weapon to fracture the victim's skull in a pavilion known as the "black house", before sexually assaulting her body.

The Crown's case is that he used Facebook messenger to arrange to meet the youngster, in the city's West Park, and changed his trousers before leaving the scene.

Giving evidence on Thursday, Mrs Valantiniene described how her daughter had become "troubled", from the summer of 2017.

Jurors heard Vikorija's school attendances had plummeted, she was repeatedly running away from home, out late with other youngsters, drinking, and smoking cannabis.

The victim's mother told the court that things became so bad that in December 2017, Viktorija was sent to live with her natural father in Ireland, after repeatedly leaving the family home in Mostyn Street, Wolverhampton.

That followed an incident on December 15, when one of the windows was smashed at the family home.

Speaking to a 999 call handler that day, Mrs Valantiniene said: "I am scared in my own house, you understand.

"I have a very big problem with my daughter.

"She is a very troubled child, very troubled.

"She smokes, she sleeps with guys, and she smokes ganja.

"She's drinking and I don't know what to do, because she's a very bad child."

The teenager returned to Wolverhampton in February 2018, and her mother said initially the relationship was back to being "ideal".

But two weeks later, she started running away again with her parents believing she had fallen back into her "old ways".

In March, with Viktorija spending more frequent periods out late at night and away from home, her angry mother burned some of her clothes and took away her iPhone, as punishment.

Viktorija then took her mother's bank card, withdrawing £250, and sparking a physical confrontation with Mrs Valantiniene.

Despite that, her mother told court Viktorija could be loving, adding she believed the issues were only "temporary".

Describing the last time she kissed her only daughter on the night of Tuesday, April 10, she said: "We were about to go to sleep.

"I came to her room, gave her a hug, and kissed her for the last time."

As she left for work at 4am, on April 11, she added: "I came to see Viktorija before I left."

Her daughter went out sometime that day and did not return.

Police contacted Mrs Valantiniene the next day telling her Viktorija's body had been found.

The accused denies the charges. The case continues.



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Girl, 13, found dead in home as police probe 'unexplained' tragedy

Mum Kerry Williams described her 13-year-old daughter Eboney Cheshire as her "best friend" and said she was "broken" without her.

Kerry said in a statement: “My beautiful baby girl, I love you with all my heart.

"I am broken and can’t think of a life without you. I don’t want to see tomorrow, I just want you back in my arms. You are my best friend, so funny, full of character and so popular. I’m broken without you and our lives will never, ever be the same.

"My baby girl, I love you more than life itself and your brother is heartbroken. Fly, my beautiful princess.

"Your mummy is heartbroken. I hope you realise how much I love you and how I would have swapped places with you in a heartbeat. I begged them baby girl, but they wouldn’t let me."

Police ruled the sudden death of Ebony as "unexplained" after she "took ill" the night before.

The teen  died in the early hours of Monday morning in Rainhill, Merseyside.

Merseyside Police said they had been called to the home just before midnight on Sunday, December 2.

They said: "Police and paramedics were called to an address on Sandon Close, to reports of a 13-year-old girl being taken ill.

"The girl was removed by ambulance to hospital where she was sadly pronounced deceased at 1.20am."

Authorities have since conducted an autopsy, ruling her death was "unexplained".


A spokesperson said: "Merseyside Police can confirm that a Post Mortem has been conducted after the sudden death of a 13-year-old girl in Rainhill in the early hours of Monday 3 December.

"The cause of her death remains unexplained pending forensic analysis and the investigation is ongoing.

"The scene has now been closed and the family is being supported by officers and other partners."

A police van was seen outside the home after the tragedy.

John Pout, Executive Principal at Rainhill High School, said: "We have been advised of the very sad news that one of our pupil's passed away at the weekend.

Police had earlier confirmed that a post mortem would involve toxicology and other medical reports.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police social media desk @MerPolCC or you can call 101 with reference 1163 of 2 December.

"Advice and support is being offered to pupils throughout the school. Our thoughts are with all the family and we offer our most sincere condolences."



 

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Irish girl, four, cries when told she’ll spend Christmas homeless

‘I have nowhere to stay, we have nowhere else’: Heartbreaking video of four-year-old girl crying after being told she will spend a third Christmas homeless shows reality of Ireland’s housing crisis

  • Leanne Dunleavy, 30, and daughter Poppy, four, from Dublin, are homeless
  • They have been in emergency accommodation and shelters for two years 
  • She filmed Poppy crying when she is told they won’t have a house for Christmas
  • Heartbreaking video sees young girl sobbing and saying  ‘I have nowhere to stay’

A video of a little girl sobbing after being told she has to spend her third Christmas in a hostel has highlighted the plight of the many young victims of Ireland’s housing crisis.

The footage shows Poppy, four, sitting on a bed in a hostel in Dublin, Ireland, crying over not having ‘anywhere to stay’ this Christmas.  

Poppy and her mother Leanne Dunleavy, 30, have been in and out of homeless shelters for the past two years. 

Homeless: The heartbreaking video of little Poppy, four, was filmed by her mother Leanne Dunleavy, 30, from Dublin, Ireland, who has been homeless for the past two years

Ms Dunleavy, a hair stylist, says they became homeless due to unforeseen circumstances and that she does not expect her situation to change anytime soon. 

Her video has racked up more than 167,000 views on Facebook, with many people blaming the Irish Government for Ms Dunleavy’s situation.   

One Facebook user wrote: ‘Poor child everyone needs to get out and march, bring this country to a stand still, that’s what needs to happen.’  


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Another said: ‘Utterly heartbreaking to watch, this country is a bloody disgrace.’  

The short clip shows Poppy distraught with red puffy cheeks and tears streaming down her face.

Ms Dunleavy is heard asking her why she is upset, to which a crying Poppy replies: ‘Because I have nowhere to stay, because we have nowhere else.’


Heartbreaking: Little Poppy is seen crying having been told she will be spending a third Christmas without a home 

One of many: Poppy is one of more than 3,700 children who are currently homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland


Tragic: Ms Dunleavy, a hair stylist, says her and Poppy became homeless due to unforeseen circumstances and that she does not expect her situation to change anytime soon.

IRELAND’S HOMELESS CRISIS 

Some 10,000 people are homeless in Ireland, including more than 3,800 children, the latest official figures show, a number which has trebled in the past four years.

A 300 million euro affordable housing package has been allocated in this year’s budget, but the government has been criticised for not acting fast enough. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended his government’s record, pointing to nearly 20,000 new homes expected to be built before 2019.

‘There are limiting factors. There’s only so much concrete, only so many service sites, only so many construction workers. We’re ramping up things as quickly as we can,’ he said.

While Ireland was left with a surplus of houses after a property crash in 2008, it has come nowhere near providing the number needed to keep up with a rapid economic recovery, with rents in Dublin almost 20 per cent above their pre-crisis peak.

While rising, supply is still short of the 35,000 new builds analysts say are needed annually just to keep up with demand.

Ms Dunleavy then replies by asking how does that make you feel, to which little Poppy replies with ‘sad’.

Trying to make her daughter feel better, Ms Dunleavy insists: ‘But we’re going to be together.’

However, Poppy is still in bits, and cries out that she misses her old dog ‘Milly’.

Ms Dunleavy, again tries to reassure her child by saying; ‘When we get a new house we’ll get a new dog’.

‘I don’t want to get a new dog’ cries out Poppy before her mother replies says: ‘We’ll get a new house though won’t we.’

Poppy then cries further before asking: ‘Can I get a new dog?’

Speaking today, Ms Dunleavy said no child should have to suffer homelessness, as Poppy prepares for her third homeless Christmas.

She said: ‘I just wanted to show the government how it’s not only the parents that suffer because we get on with it.

‘It’s tearing the children apart, no child should be spending Christmas for the third time in homeless accommodation and by the looks of things it will probably be a fourth Christmas next year.  

‘Loads of lovely people have contacted me and a lot of women that are in the same situation and other people that used to be in the same situation.’  

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Party invite by girl, 15, sparks fears of a RIOT in small Dutch town

Party invite by girl, 15, sparks fears of a RIOT in small Dutch town after 28,000 people say they want to attend event on Facebook, forcing police to intervene

  • Girl, 15, invited friends to a birthday party in small Dutch village via Snapchat 
  • The invitation went viral and a Facebook event for the party was set up
  • Before it was taken down, 8,000 said they would attend, and 20,000 ‘interested’
  • Mayor warned  police would stop anyone coming ‘with the wrong intentions’

 A 15-year-old Dutch girl has be forced into hiding after her invitation to her birthday party went viral and more than 28,000 people said they would like to attend.

The teenager had invited her friends to celebrate her big day at her family home in the small village of Katwijk in Cuijk, southeast Netherlands, but within hours the invite was posted on Facebook.

The avalanche of RSVPs prompted the town’s mayor to issue a statement that ‘there would be no party in Katjwik’ and warn that police would stop anyone coming to the village ‘with the wrong intentions’. 

Going viral: The teenager had invited a few friends to her birthday party, which was then posted on Facebook and went viral with thousands pledging to attend (stock image) 

The 15-year-old has now been forced to temporarily leave Katwijk, a small village with just a few hundred residents, after fears her party invite might attract thousands and spark a riot.

The teenager’s family say her party invitation posted on Snapchat on Tuesday had been ‘hijacked’ by strangers.


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An unknown person set up an open Facebook event for a party at the girl’s address this Friday, named Project X Katwijk after the American comedy film about a houseparty that gets out of hand. 

By the time the Facebook event was shut down, it had 8,000 attendees and 20,000 ‘interested’ before it was shut down, Gerlander.nl reports

The viral party invitation prompted the mayor in Cuijk, southeast Netherlands, to issue a warning that police would stop anyone coming to the village ‘with the wrong intentions’

The viral party invitation prompted the teenager to go into hiding, her uncle told a Dutch radio station.

Mayor Wim Hillenaar  said in a statement: ‘Our line is: there is no party in Katwijk and there will be no party in Katwijk. 

‘I speak on behalf of the community of Cuijk – and in particular the troubled residents of the parish of Katwijk – when I say that our commitment is and remains to ensure that people from outside Cuijk, who come on Friday with wrong intentions, are stopped. ‘

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Taylor Swift Is a Lucky Girl! Relive Joe Alwyn’s Hotness Evolution

Do a double take! Joe Alwyn has been making Us swoon since starring in his breakout film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, in 2016. From red carpets to sporting events, Taylor Swift’s hunky British boyfriend has showed off his suave style, sweet smile and impeccable charm.

Swift and Alwyn first sparked romance rumors in May 2016, one year after meeting at the Met Gala in New York City. “She finds Joe to be one of the coolest guys,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in November 2018 of the Grammy winner. “He’s extremely chill, laid-back and unconditionally supports her.”

Scroll down to see how Alwyn has transformed into a heart-stopping A-list actor in just two years!

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Girl, 16, dies after being hit by a lorry while walking near her home in Lincolnshire

The teen was walking in Osbournby, Lincolnshire, when she was hit about 4.40pm on Monday.

Lincolnshire Police today confirmed she passed away.

A spokesperson said: "We are sad to report that the pedestrian involved in this collision has died."

Authorities are now asking for any witnesses who may have seen the collision, or the Scania lorry before the crash to come forward.

Please call 101 quoting incident 290 of 3rd December.

 


More to follow…

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Is your American Girl doll worth thousands? Here’s how you can check

Molly McIntire, Samantha Parkington and Kirsten Larson were the first American Girl dolls produced in 1986 that could be worth a lot of money if they are in top condition. (Photo: American Girl)

Remember the ’80s Cabbage Patch Kids craze? And the ’90s when car dashboards spilled over with Beanie Babies?

Some people never let a kid touch those novelties and cast an eye to the future, hoping these “it” toys would rain astronomical amounts of money someday. 

That’s precisely what made them worthless, said Josh Levine, a collectibles expert and owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

“Kiss of death,” Levine told All the Moms. “Of all the dolls that were worth $300 to $400 new at the time — they’re worth $20 today.”

You know which doll breaks the collectible-gone-wrong mold? Barbie, because, well, she’s the reigning monarch of doll collectibles. 

If Barbie is queen, American Girl dolls are the princesses.

“Dolls are usually a loser’s game,” Levine said. “But I was pleasantly surprised. There is a decent market for American Girl dolls every day of the week.”

There is a set of American Girl dolls, including Samantha, Molly and Addy with multiple outfits and furniture, for sale on eBay right now for $11,500. The dolls, originals made by the Pleasant Company before it was sold in 1998 to Barbie-makers Mattel, are extremely valuable to collectors. 

MORE: Your favorite American Girl doll comes to life in a Broadway-style musical tour

Big money in the little dolls

American Girl dolls and accessories that have sold on eBay in the last three months include:

  • $5,400: A signed collection of three of the original, pre-Mattel American Dolls in boxes with paperwork. 
  • $4,500: American Girl doll Grace Bakery that was set with a bonus Grace bakery outfit.
  • $3,200: 8 American Girl dolls, including Lindsey released in 2001 and the Dolls of the Year from 2005-2010. All are new and never removed from the box.
  • $1,495: Kanani, 2011 Doll of the Year, never removed from her box, plus clothing and more accessories.  
  • $1,450: American Girl Samantha doll in original box and signed by American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland. 
  • $1,150: A signed American Girl Felicity doll still in the box.

An idea with heart

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While organizing some old files I found a ton of AG stuff that I thought I'd share. I have lots of vintage catalogs, magazines, books, and of course dolls from the late 80s and 90s that I'll be sharing. I'll post credit when I know the original source, but if I don't please feel free to tell me and I'll give credit ASAP ❤️

A post shared by American Girl History (@verypleasantcompany) on

American Girl was first marketed in 1986 by the Pleasant Company in Middleton, Wisconsin. Former teacher Pleasant Rowland created the 18-inch dolls and gave them backstories of young girls living during important times in American history. Each doll came with her own historically appropriate book and clothes. Rowland’s idea was that “girls could play out the stories.” 

The doll’s had personality, culture, challenges and heart. 

The first three dolls released in 1986 are among the most valuable to collectors.

  • Kirsten Larson, a Minnesota pioneer who grew up in 1854. She was retired in 2010.
  • Samantha Parkington, a Victorian orphan who lived in 1904. She was retired in 2009, but re-released in 2014. 
  • Molly McIntire, a patriotic child who grew up during WWII. She was retired in 2013, but re-released this year. 

The 11 original Pleasant Company historical character dolls, especially if they’ve been retired like Felicity, can fetch hundreds if not thousands, on eBay.

A growing, diverse collection

Now the company sells more than four dozen versions of the dolls, including a limited-edition “Girl of the Year.”

In 1995, the company introduced what would become the My American Girl line with customizeable dolls that allow girls to select skin, hair and eye colors so the doll can look just like they do.

American Girl has worked to diversify its collection in the last few years. (Photo: Tom Tingle/azcentral.com)

The first American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998. Now there are 20 across the country and international locations in Canada and the United Arab Emirates, according to the company’s website.

American Girl introduced its first African-American doll in 1993 with Addy Walker. Since then, it has further diversified its collection. The first Native American doll was released in 2002. The first boy doll, Korean-American and doll of Hawaiian descent were introduced in 2017.

What makes an American Girl doll worth a lot of money?

If you loved your American Girl doll soooooo much, she went everywhere with you – from parks to family parties – and you styled her hair like yours and applied make up, that’s precious. But it’s not going to fetch you much cash.

Most of the dolls and accessories that sell for triple figures and more are in unopened boxes or are gently used. Other things to note about items that sell well:

  • The hair has not been cut.
  • The face is unmarked.
  • The eyes are intact.
  • The doll still has the original, clean clothing.
  • The doll comes in the original box.
  • The doll has been retired.
  • Paperwork is available that includes receipts and information cards.

In addition to being among the original dolls released by the Pleasant Company, limited-edition dolls, like Hawaiian doll Kanani, that are on the market for only a year, also are valuable.    

A Kanani Akina doll was a 2011 limited-edition Girl of the Year and is highly coveted among collectors. (Photo: Getty Images)

‘They’re not just dolls’

Levine does a lot of business in auctioning jewelry and guns, many that have tantalizing stories connected to the owners. Those stories always up the ante.

When he first walked by an American Girl store in Scottsdale, he didn’t understand the draw of parents and children packed inside until his wife explained it to him.

“‘They’re not just dolls,’ she said. There’s a whole story to them and books, too. After she explained it to me, I was like, ‘Oh, I get it now. I see why they’re so popular.'”

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Little Drummer Girl fans gripped by explosive ending

Gripping finale of The Little Drummer Girl – which was DIFFERENT to the ending of John le Carré’s book – sees fans demanding a BAFTA for ‘sensational’ young star Florence Pugh

  • Charlie bonded with terrorist Khalil after she met him in the penultimate episode
  • They ended up in bed together but ever cautious he questioned her commitment
  • Unknowingly he triggered his own fate when he acted upon his suspicions
  • Pugh, a BAFTA Rising Star 2018 nominee, on track to become a household name  

Fans of The Little Drummer Girl have called for awards plaudits for its ‘mesmerising’ star after Sunday night’s thrilling final episode.  

Florence Pugh, 22, has played thespian-turned-spy Charlie for six episodes, recruited by Israeli spies to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist organisation with the help of Alexander Skarsgård’s agent Gadi Becker. 

Following Sunday night’s episode, fans took to Twitter in droves to insist her emotional performance deserves a BAFTA nod.   

In the finale, Charlie found herself in a remote location with terrorist Khalil, who was building a bomb for his next attack, having managed to reach the heart of his cell.   

The couple engaged in a dramatic confrontation after ending up in bed together, which saw suspicious Khalil unknowingly seal his own fate by removing the batteries from Charlie’s clock radio – ignorant to the fact it was a pre-arranged signal to Gadi Becker to take out Khalil.  

One viewer called Pugh ‘sensational’, while another tweeted: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if Florence Pugh’s future included an Oscar or two.’ 

The nail-biting ending of the TV adaptation differed from the John le Carré novel it was based on, which sees the former actress suffer a mental breakdown, in that she and Becker looked set to rekindle their romance as the credits rolled.    

Charlie (Florence Pugh) was confronted by Khalil in the gripping finale of The Little Drummer Girl after they had spent the night together in a remote location

Charlie had grown close to Gadi Becker (Alexander Skarsgård pictured) while being an undercover spy infiltrating the Palestinian terrorist organisation

Fans of the BBC espionage thriller gushed over the lead actress Florence Pugh and said that she deserved a BAFTA award for her work on the series

Pugh was previously nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star award at the beginning of the year, ahead of her performance in the BBC espionage drama, and fans are now hoping she makes the shortlist for 2019.

Viewers gushed over the lead actress’ performance with one saying: ‘You deserve a BAFTA for the Little Drummer Girl acting amazing.’


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‘Just finished the superbly made #littledrummergirl on the BBC. The cast in general was excellent and I wouldn’t be surprised if Florence’s future included an Oscar or two, a very talented actor and one to watch,’ added another.

One said: ‘Just now watching #littledrummergirl Damn Florence Pugh is amazing.’ 

‘The cinematography on #thelittledrummergirl has been stunning throughout, but the final episode was exquisite. Extraordinary direction from #parkchanwook, mesmerising performances from [Michael] Shannon & Skarsgård and a travesty if there is no @bafta nod for the sensational @Florence_Pugh,’ commended one. 

Charlie had been taken to a remote cabin by Khalil where they spent a passionate night together, but he grew suspicious of her 

Unbeknownst to Charlie when Khalil had first picked her up he had removed the batteries in her clock radio, she had replaced them and he questioned why she would do that

Khalil didn’t believe Charlie was telling the truth about who she really was and threatened to kill her, she begged him not to remove the batteries as she struggled to figure out where her loyalties lay

Charlie had been so convincing towards the end that Becker and his boss Kurtz feared she may have changed sides, with her loyalty now with the Palestinians. 

Spymaster Kurtz secretly planned to allow Khalil to run away with Charlie, letting him escape with his life so that she could remain at the heart of the terrorist cell as the Israelis undercover mole.  

In the book version the idea isn’t raised, with the Israelis in agreement that Khalil should be killed, and Charlie should return to her normal life.

Khalil unintentionally sealed his own fate when he removed the batteries from the clock radio after picking up Charlie. 

Becker had told Charlie that removing the batteries from the radio would be a signal – the green light for him to kill Khalil. But she replaced them as she struggled to decide where her loyalties truly lay.  

But as Khalil confronted Charlie following their night of passion he asked her who she really was – and asked her how the batteries had been replaced – leading him to suspect she was a spy.

He held a gun to her head before pulling out the batteries once more, which – unbeknownst to him – signalled to Becker and the team to ambush and kill the terrorist leader. 

The signal between Charlie and Becker was the removal  of the batteries as it meant she was in danger, but she was left distraught when Becker burst in and gunned down the terrorist 

In the book Becker and Charlie go their separate ways for a while with both going through different torment. In the TV series he secretly sends her a pack of cigarettes with his address on

The pair are reunited at Becker’s home, with him inviting Charlie in bringing in his teacup and teapot as the programme ends

Charlie was left distraught. Struggling to cope with Khalil’s death at the hands of Becker, she was sent to Israel to recuperate where he eventually contacted her by sending a packet of cigarettes with his address on.

She went to find him and the gripping series came to a close with him inviting her inside. 

In the Le Carre novel Charlie has a mental breakdown and finds it impossible to return to her thespian career. 

Becker is also tormented but then they are reunited while she is on a theatre tour and he is sitting in the audience.

The Little Drummer Girl boxset is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for 28 days 

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