Youth convicted of murdering boy cleared of rape

The outside of Ipswich Magistrates' Court, showing the main entrance
The teenager was cleared of rape after a youth court trial in the Ipswich Magistrates' Court building [BBC]

A 17-year-old serving a custodial sentence after being convicted of murdering a 16-year-old boy has been found not guilty of raping a teenage girl.

He was cleared of rape on Thursday following a youth court trial in Ipswich.

The youth had been convicted of murdering Harley Barfield in November 2023, after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Jurors heard how Harley had been stabbed to death in Haverhill, Suffolk, in January 2023 and a judge ruled that the youth must serve at least 17 years in custody.

The girl said the youth had raped her in October 2022, when they were both 15.

She said they had been in a relationship at the time.

The youth denied rape.

District Judge Ken Sheraton delivered a not guilty verdict after overseeing a trial in the Ipswich Magistrates' Courts building.

Judge Sheraton said both the girl and the youth had come across well at the trial and had "stuck to their guns".

But he said there was a "doubt" about whether the rape had taken place.

The judge said neither the girl nor the youth could be identified in media reports.

Jurors at Ipswich Crown Court had heard last year how there had been a confrontation after Harley and the youth got involved in arguments over a girl.

Harley had been stabbed at least 12 times, and one blow pierced his heart.

The youth, who was also 16 at the time of the attack, admitted killing Harley but denied murder.

Jurors had found him guilty by a majority verdict of 10 to two.

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