Teenage girl guilty of double Suffolk murder

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl was today jointly convicted of two murders - including that of her father.

Lorraine Thorpe, who was 15 at the time of the killings, and Paul Clarke, 41, of Mountbatten Court, Ipswich, were both found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court this afternoon.

They had denied murdering 41-year-old Rosalyn Hunt, of Victoria Street, Ipswich, and 43-year-old Des Thorpe whose body was found in a flat in Limerick Close, Ipswich.

However, the jury found them guilty after a six week trial.

During the trial, the court heard that Thorpe was involved in the murders after absconding from a children’s home.

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She then took part in a “sadistic and prolonged” assault on Mrs Hunt in a flat in the town.

During the attack at a flat in Mountbatten Court, Ipswich, Mrs Hunt was repeatedly punched and kicked in the head, had a cheese grater rubbed into her face until she bled, had salt put in her open wounds and had her hair set alight with a cigarette lighter.

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Witnesses also described seeing her being whipped with a dog chain and having an electric fan held in her face.

Two days later, Mrs Hunt returned to her one-bedroom flat in Victoria Street where she was subjected to further violence by Thorpe and Clarke which led to her death.

Mrs Hunt’s decomposing body was found on August 9 after a worried neighbour contacted the police.

A post mortem examination showed she had died from a heavy blow to her neck/chest area. She was also found to have multiple external injuries to her body and nine broken ribs.

The court was also told that prior to Mr Thorpe’s death on August 10 last year, he had been subjected to repeated incidents of violence by Clarke and Thorpe and died after being smothered with a cushion because he threatened to tell the police what had happened to Mrs Hunt.

Mr Thorpe, who was described as a chronic alcoholic, was found to have multiple external injuries to his body as well as a faint, patterned mark on his forehead which could have been caused by the imprint of a shoe.

Cuts to his upper lip caused by contact with his teeth led a pathologist to conclude he had been smothered.

The court heard that prior to the murders Thorpe, whose parents were separated, had been placed in care and put in a children’s home.

She had absconded and had gone to stay at Clarke’s flat in Mountbatten Court but had moved in with Mrs Hunt when she and Clarke became aware that social services were trying to find her.

Police officers looking for the girl went to Mrs Hunt’s flat in June last year and following that visit Clarke and the girl had accused Mrs Hunt of being a “grass”.

In early August, the girl allegedly told a witness that she and Clarke were holding Mrs Hunt hostage at Clarke’s flat and bragged about “beating her up”.

In response to the allegation that Lorraine Thorpe was effectively on the run from social services at the time of the murders, Cliff James, head of safeguarding at Suffolk County Council said after today’s verdict: “Lorraine was in residential care for three weeks between June 18 and July 9, 2009. On the July 9 Lorraine was returned to her mother’s care and was living at her mother’s home. This was agreed with Lorraine and her mother. During this time, working with the police and other partner agencies, we continued to have regular contact with them both.”

John Grimwood, 28, of Canham Street in Ipswich, was cleared of Mrs Hunt’s murder this afternoon.

- Buy tomorrow’s papers for the full story, pictures and background.

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