Tuesday 23 July 2019

Tragic Katie Rough was a 'smart, beautiful child' whose best friend was her dog

Katie Rough, a seven-year-old girl who died after sustaining serious injuries in an attack in York. (Photo: North Yorkshire Police)
Katie Rough, a seven-year-old girl who died after sustaining serious injuries in an attack in York. (Photo: North Yorkshire Police)

Amy Murphy

Katie Rough was a "smart, fun, beautiful child" who loved Dr Seuss and whose best friend was her dog Walter.

Described as "not a girly-girl", family tributes at her funeral talked about how she loved playing outdoors, getting dirty and having teddy bears' picnics.

Her family were said to be her world and she was described as a "daddy's girl through and through".

The seven-year-old's death, at the hands of a teenage girl, was mourned by people from across the world, with many helping to raise thousands of pounds for the family in the days following the killing.

Hundreds of people attended her rainbow-coloured funeral earlier this year, which was held at York Minster and led by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who said he sat with Katie's coffin overnight so she would not be alone.

In a heartfelt tribute, Katie's uncle Steven Rough spoke about how much the young girl would be missed.

He said: "We can't dwell in sadness or keep asking why when we may never know the reason why this smart, fun, beautiful child was taken from our lives at such a young age."

He continued: "She will be remembered for so many things, but here are a few favourites.

"Her love of baking, sassy nature, creativity, and love for the outdoors. She was often playing outside in the garden, getting dirty with worms and snails.

"Katie absolutely loved to read and had quite a book collection. She particularly enjoyed poetry, riddles and Dr Seuss.

"She was inquisitive, clever and full of questions. She even learned to solve a Rubik's cube with some help from her dad.

"Her family were her world, although she loved her mum and dad very much, she was a daddy's girl through and through."

Read More: Girl (16) admits to killing of Katie Rough (7)

He added: "There are so many good memories of her playing in the garden with friends, jumping on the trampoline and the giggles and screams with delight were infectious.

"Other people have recalled dancing, sleepovers, teddy bears' picnics in the summer and pretending to be a dog.

"She was described as an absolutely brilliant friend but one of her true friends was her dog, Walter, who she adored and often loved to dress up."

Alison Rough, Katie's mother, told the Yorkshire Post: "She was happy to be outside and kicking in the mud. She was not a traditional girly-girl at all. She was a strong-willed girl.

"She was beautiful. She was amazing."

Mrs Rough said she wanted her daughter, who suffered from selective mutism, to be remembered for who she was rather than how she died.

She described how Katie loved going to the seaside town of Filey, where she collected pebbles called her "special things".

Mrs Rough said her family had received support from around the world, with people writing from as far away as New Zealand, with some messages getting to them just addressed to "Katie Rough's parents, York".

An online donation site raised thousands of pounds in just a few days after Katie's death.

Maggie Jackson, who did not know the family, said she wanted to set up the fund to "raise money to give to her family to help them through this terrible time without any other worries".

One member of the family posted a message on the site, which said: "Just wanted to once again say thank you to everyone who has donated. The generosity of strangers is over-whelming."

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