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Teenagers celebrated girl's death, trial told.

Byline: Robin Turner

THREE teenage boys had a "celebratory drink" after 15-year-old Rebecca Aylward was beaten to death with a rock in a South Wales forest, a murder trial heard yesterday.

Rebecca, of Maesteg, was found dead from devastating head injuries in woods near Aberkenfig last October.

A 16-year-old boy, who had been friendly with Rebecca but then fell out with her telling friends he wanted to "kill her" or "poison her", denies murder and instead blames the crime on his best friend.

Yesterday, a friend of the defendant gave evidence at Swansea Crown Court via a video-link.

The friend agreed he had told the defendant he would "buy him breakfast" if he killed Rebecca, but he insisted this was a joke and that he was not taking the defendant's threats to Rebecca seriously.

He said to Peter Rouch, the barrister acting for the defendant: "I didn't really mean it the way it sounds."

Mr Rouch said: "How did it sound?" He replied: "Like I really wanted him to kill Rebecca."

He described how the defendant and the defendant's best friend came out of the woods in Aberkenfig on the day Rebecca died.

He claimed the defendant told him he (the defendant) had hit Rebecca over the head repeatedly with a rock. He added the defendant's best friend, who he said had been called into the woods by the defendant, said Rebecca was just "lying there".

The three, all from the Bridgend area, went back to the home of the defendant's best friend's parents, who were away at the time.

Mr Rouch asked the 16-year-old witness: "Did you or the defendant's best friend then say, 'Let's have a celebratory drink?'" The witness said: "No, the defendant said that."

The witness agreed he had not mentioned this in his police interviews, explaining it was because he had "a lot to remember".

The witness said the three got hold of a bottle of wine that was being made by the parents of the defendant's best friend but, though they poured it out for each other, it was undrinkable.

The court heard they then had a cup of tea instead, with the defendant making it because it was "his turn".

Mr Rouch said: "There's a young girl lying dead in a forest and you're saying 'Go on, make the tea, it's your turn?'" The witness answered: "It didn't feel real, I was carrying on as normal."

Mr Rouch said: "I'm suggesting to you it was the defendant's best friend who said he had attacked Rebecca."

The witness replied: "No, that's wrong."

The witness also denied a suggestion from Mr Rouch that he and the defendant's best friend had discussed "putting the blame" on the defendant.

Later yesterday, the jury saw the start of a taped interview the defendant's best friend gave to police after Rebecca's body was found.

The witness, also 16, said he was summoned into the forest by the defendant who seemed "frantic".

He said: "I was really nervous, I got out of breath really quickly because I was frightened. I thought maybe he's done something mad."

The teenager said he thought something might have happened to Rebecca earlier because, when he and his friend had a telephone conversation with the defendant and asked him if he was with Rebecca, he answered: "Define with."

The defendant's best friend told the interviewing police officer the defendant told him over the phone: "There's a dead body lying in the forest."

(proceeding)

CAPTION(S):

* Rebecca Aylward was found dead with severe head injuries last October
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 30, 2011
Words:591
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