TWO fifteen-year-old boys "frogmarched" a terrified schoolgirl to a secluded alleyway in Appleby and then took it in turns to rape her, a jury heard.

The victim’s horrific ordeal – during the 2019 Appleby Horse Fair – was outlined at the trial of the two accused teenagers, who have now turned 18. The defendants, who are first cousins, had denied rape.

But they were convicted after a three-week trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

As the trial got underway, barrister Tim Evans outlined the prosecution case. The 15-year-old victim was in the town with friends in May 2019 and she had never before met the two defendants. 

They were in Appleby with their families to take part in the Horse Fair.

“The defendants shouted at her, followed her and her wrist was grabbed as she walked across a bridge,” said Mr Evans. “She was then taken down a secluded lane on the town-centre side of the bridge.”

Then, as one defendant acted as a lookout at the end of the lane, the first teenager raped the girl before they changed places and the second boy then also raped her.

Summarising the victim's account of what happened, Mr Evans told the jury: “She will tell you that she was scared throughout and how she was repeatedly telling them no.” After raping her, one of the boys said he wanted to continue the sexual assault.

But the girl managed to get away.

In an interview with the police after the attack was reported, a friend of the girl said that when she re-joined her group she was “scared and shaking. She told her friend: “Get me out of here” and appeared “very shaken up.”

She was visibly trembling, said one of her friends.

A boy who was among her group of friends described how the girl looked after she came back to the bridge, saying she was "very pale as though she was going to faint." When he hugged her she was shaking.

As he opened the case to the jury, Mr Evans spoke of the two defendants “frogmarching” the girl to the alleyway. Earlier, she and her friends had been on a bridge when the defendants shouted out to her, asking for her name.

“They were asking if she wanted to go for a walk with them but she was fobbing them off,” said Mr Evans. It was at this point that they took her hand and ‘marched her over the bridge’ and down the alleyway.

The girl later picked out both defendants during an identification parade on July 9. Addressing the defendants’ claim that the girl consented, Mr Evans said the jury should consider how likely it was that a young girl would have sex with two complete strangers within minutes of meeting them.

“Or is it that these two defendants were desperate to get sexual contact with a female that day – any female?” When they were interviewed by the police, both defendants exercised their right to remain silent.

It took the jury 10 hours and 43 minutes to deliver the two guilty verdicts.

After those verdicts were confirmed, Recorder Ian Unsworth KC remanded both defendants in custody. He said that they will be sentenced at the crown court on February 17.