Saturday 21 September 2019

Teenage boy named after admitting to murdering schoolgirl

Ellie Gould Photo: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire
Ellie Gould Photo: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire

Claire Hayhurst

A teenager has admitted killing schoolgirl Ellie Gould in her own home.

Thomas Griffiths, 17, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday morning to plead guilty to the murder charge.

He was arrested shortly after Wiltshire Police were called to Ellie's family home in Calne at 3.15pm on Friday May 3.

Ellie, an A-level student at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, was pronounced dead from multiple stab wounds.

Undated handout photo issued by Wiltshire Police of Thomas Griffiths, 17, who pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to murdering schoolgirl Ellie Gould in Calne, Wiltshire Photo: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Wiltshire Police of Thomas Griffiths, 17, who pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to murdering schoolgirl Ellie Gould in Calne, Wiltshire Photo: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire

Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, lifted reporting restrictions which prevented the media from identifying Griffiths.

The judge said the teenager, who will be sentenced on November 8, had admitted an "extremely grave crime".

He ruled that it was "appropriate, reasonable and proportionate" for him to lift the order and allow Griffiths' identity to be made public.

Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire, spoke only to confirm his name and reply "Guilty" when the murder charge was read to him.

Speaking after the hearing, temporary Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taylor said: "Ellie was murdered as a result of a violent attack.

"Ellie was in her first year of sixth form and was looking forward to the next steps in her education.

"Her parents have told me that she was considering a career in the police and had been looking into attending university.

"The options available to Ellie were endless but her hopes and dreams will now sadly never be realised."

He said officers were able to quickly identify and arrest Griffiths after Ellie was murdered.

The teenager initially denied having seen Ellie that day, or in the days before her death.

"While I am pleased that Ellie's family will not have to endure a lengthy trial process in court which would have caused them further distress, I know just how difficult this whole period has been for them," Mr Taylor said.

"They should have been enjoying the school holidays with their daughter but instead, they are coming to terms with the fact she has been cruelly taken away from them in unthinkable circumstances."

Ellie's family previously paid tribute to the keen horse rider and animal-lover as "fun-loving and a joy to be around".

They added: "We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful, fun personality."

Lisa Percy, headteacher of Hardenhuish School, said pupils and staff were "absolutely devastated" by Ellie's death.

"Ellie was an extremely popular student in our lower sixth form, who was preparing for her A-levels the following year," she said.

"She was popular, friendly and very talented, and understandably her death has hugely impacted on our school.

"Her close-knit group of friends have shown strength beyond their young years in the months that have followed Ellie's death, and have supported one another extraordinarily well.

"We continue to support our students with the help of partner agencies who have been invaluable to our school during such an unprecedented time.

"Our thoughts continue to remain with Ellie's family at this time."

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