December 2002

Judge allows naming of kidnapping schoolboy

A judge has allowed the name of a schoolboy who kidnapped a six-year-old girl and tried to rape and murder her to be published because his crime was so serious.

Phillip Hodges, 16, was jailed for life for what the judge described as an “evil” crime last week after being found guilty of trying to rape and strangle the girl.

Usually as a juvenile he would be protected from publicity but the judge decided that because the crime was so severe he could be named.

Cardiff Crown court heard that Hodges was playing in the street on Jubilee weekend with a group of children when he dragged the girl off into dense woodland where he tried to strangle her by squeezing and stamping on her neck.

He then tried to rape her and believing she was dead attempted to bury her half-naked body.

The jury was told Hodges turned up at the girl’s family home half an hour after the attack, saying he lost her as they played in the woods at Malpas, Newport, South Wales.

A party of relatives and neighbours searched the woods for an hour before finding the girl partly covered by leaves and earth and virtually unrecognisable.

Hodges was found guilty of attempted murder, attempted rape and kidnapping. He was sentenced to life custody last Thursday – the day after his 16th birthday.