A teenage rapist who bludgeoned a woman with a paving slab and left her for dead will be sentenced later.
Charlie John Pearce carried out the attack on the woman on his 17th birthday in July last year, having researched rape online.
He had denied meaning to kill the woman but admitted two counts of rape, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and stealing her handbag.
Following a trial at Leicester Crown Court, he was found guilty of attempted murder, having left his victim within a ‘hair’s breadth’ of death.
The court heard Pearce had dragged the victim into undergrowth in Leicester’s Victoria Park, where she was found around an hour later by a cyclist who spotted a pool of blood.
The victim, aged in her 20s, suffered ‘truly dreadful’ head injuries at the hands of Pearce, who was captured on CCTV running towards her.
She awoke from a coma weeks later, unaware of what had happened.
The defendant, who had been drinking in a pub, was linked by ‘one-in-a-billion’ DNA matches after his family contacted the police following a media appeal.
Pearce, of Clarendon Park, Leicester, will be sentenced at the Old Bailey by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave later.
Although he denied any intention to kill the woman, Pearce admitted two counts of rape, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and stealing the victim’s handbag, which he later tried to burn.
While claiming through lawyers that he struck the victim to render her unconscious rather then kill, Pearce refused to go into the witness box during his defence case.
At the start of trial, prosecutor Gordon Aspden said Pearce was caught on CCTV as he tracked the victim carrying a slab or stone – before again being filmed by a security camera as he fled.
Footage filmed from a property nearby showed the teenager calmly stepping into a driveway to avoid a police patrol answering a 999 call from witnesses who heard ‘thudding’ noises as the woman was attacked at about 11.35pm on July 3.
The prosecutor told the jury: ‘An attack of this type was clearly something that had been festering at the back of his mind in the weeks and days leading up to its commission.
‘The ugly truth here is that this dangerous young man, for his own selfish reasons, chose to carry out an attack of quite desolating wickedness on a complete stranger and his intention was to rape and kill her.
The court heard that Pearce ‘came within a hair’s breadth’ of killing the victim, who he dragged into undergrowth.
The woman was taken to hospital for life-saving treatment after being found by a female passer-by around an hour later.
In her testimony to the jury, the witness said she found the victim – who had ‘truly dreadful’ head wounds – after hearing movement in the bushes near a ‘bright’ patch of blood.
The defendant, who had been drinking in a pub, was linked to the attack by ‘one-in-a-billion’ DNA matches after his parents contacted the police following a media appeal.
In a statement read to the court by Mr Aspden, the victim said she could remember nothing of the attack.
‘I have no recollection of being assaulted or sexually assaulted, nor can I remember who the person was that did that to me,’ the woman said.
In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Aspden said the attack was an attempt to ‘silence’ the victim.
‘He must have believed that she was very, very seriously injured, if not dying. She lay there for the best part of an hour, exposed, badly injured and abandoned. That speaks volumes about his mindset and selfishness.’
Adjourning sentence on Pearce, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: ‘You have been found guilty of attempted murder by the jury on overwhelming evidence.
‘I am going to adjourn sentence on you in order to obtain reports – it would be in your interests to co-operate with the preparation of those reports.
‘In view of the gravity of your crimes, you can expect a lengthy sentence.’