What drove girl, 15, to torture woman to death and then slaughter her own father

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  • 17:39, 9 MAY 2019

Lorraine Thorpe was just 15 when she sadistically tortured a vulnerable woman over several days before brutally murdering her.

Then, when her own father realised the terrible crime she had committed, she helped butcher him to make sure he stayed silent.

But what led a teenage girl to carry out such gruesome crimes – and could she have been stopped.

Forensic physcologist Dr Keri Nixon has now examined the chilling murders for a new series, Britain's Deadliest Kids, on Quest Red.

Rosalyn Hunt was a vulnerable woman who, at 41, was suffering from a serious alcohol problem.

She had recently separated from her husband and was living in a council house in Ipswich.

Rosalyn had fallen in with the drinking community, who regularly took advantage of her and often met in her home to down booze with, or without, her permission.

Paul Clarke was known of the ring leader of the group who would congregate at Rosalyn's home.

The former serviceman could manipulate Rosalyn to get exactly what he wanted.

Dr Nixon said: "Clarke came from a disadvantaged and troubled background but used his status amongst the group to exert control over them.

"He was known as a bully and would rule over the drinking group with fear and intimidation."

But then in August 2009, Rosalyn and Clarke fell out. It was an argument that would cost her her life.

Rosalyn was accused of kicking Clarke's dog after it attacked a child.

But Dr Nixon believes she was actually concerned about the thug's friendship with Lorraine Thorpe, who looked up to him as a role model, and was planning to report him to the authorities.

Rosalyn was so afraid of Clarke that she wouldn't return to her home.

But then she was persuaded to go back by teenager Lorraine, who instead tricked her into going to Clarke's home, where her horrific ordeal took place.

Rosaylyn was tortured for days. She was beaten, stamped on, had her ribs broken, whipped her with dog chains and burnt her hair.

Clarke and Thorpe grated her skin with a cheese grater and then rubbed salt in the wounds to make sure she was in as much pain as possible.

After several days of horrific abuse, they moved Rosalyn back to her own home and continued to torture her.

Dr Nixon said: "They basically used her as a punch bag. Rosalyn screamed in agony during the torture she sustained.

"It is unimaginable the pain Rosalyn Hunt endured in the days before she died."

Rosalyn died an agonising death in her own home.

But the pair's chilling killing spree was not over.

When Lorraine's father, Des Thorpe, overheard them bragging about the gruesome killing he threatened to go to the police.

In a desperate bid to silence him, Clarke and Thorpe smothered him.

Dr Nixon, who says the level of violence used in both murders would be expected to come from an adult man, said: "Thorpe did not stand by and watch as Clarke murdered her father; she actively participated in the murder.

"She actively murdered the father she had loved and had cared for; a trainer print was found on Des Thorpe’s forehead – evidence of the horrific violence he endured in his last minutes."

But what caused then 15-year-old Thorpe to spiral to such depths that she was capabale of carrying out these terrible crimes?

Her early life had been troubled, with her father battling an alcohol addiction and the relationship between her parents fraught.

They eventually divorced when Thorpe as 12 and she begged to live with her father.

But shortly after she ran away from home and was placed in foster care, which she also fled to live with her father once again.

Her father's drinking problem was spiralling out of control and a young Thorpe was his main carer.

She and her dad moved from squalid flats, the homes of local alcoholics and even lived in tents.

Dr Nixon said: "In the drinking community of Ipswich, violence became Lorraine Thorpe’s normal existence.

"She began to drink herself and became embroiled in this nomadic, chaotic lifestyle.

"Paul Clarke became an inappropriate role model to Lorraine Thorpe; he was confident and due to him being the leader she saw strength in Clarke that she no longer saw in her father; he offered a perverse sense of protection."

Thorpe desperately wanted to impress Clarke and they became close.

There were rumours that the pair were having sex but this has never been confirmed.

Dr Nixon said: "One thing we can say with certainty is that Thorpe was under Clarke’s spell and she looked up to him.

"In the lead up to the murders, Lorraine Thorpe was staying with Paul Clarke at Rosalyn Hunt’s home."

In addition to her turbulant life, Thorpe had also been diagnosed with ADHD, which she took medication but as her home spiralled out of control she stopped taking the drugs.

Dr Nixon said: "Combined with her drinking and chaotic lifestyle, this would have had devastating consequences.

"Symptoms could include, acting without thinking about the consequences, being unable to contain emotions, being easily distracted, increases in aggression and difficulty concentrating. Individuals with ADHD are not more likely to be violent if they are given appropriate support and help, but a child with ADHD living in trauma, without boundaries, without attachment and increasing use of alcohol and negative peer interaction would certainly be at an increased risk of violence.

"At the point Lorraine Thorpe needed stability, she was living on the streets with alcoholics."

The psychologist believes Thorpe's 'trigger' for carrying out the murders was not only her chaotic lifestye but also meeting Clarke and then the threat of being separated from him if Rosalyn reported them to the authorities.

She believes the murders would not have happened if Thorpe had never met Clarke.

Dr Nixon said: "I empathise with the child who was let down by her parents, was let down by the professionals who should have protected her and was let down by society.

"But the level of violence Thorpe used, the level of hatred she enacted on defenceless Rosalyn Hunt and her own father Des Thorpe was senseless and unforgiveable.

"Fundamentally, this is a girl who had no protective factors in place to guide her in a different direction.

"Social services lost her, society lost her and she was taken in by alcoholics and Clarke."

Thorpe was jailed for life for the murders and told she must serve at least 14 years.

Clarke must remain in prison for 27 years.

Thorpe will be just 29 when she is released from prison with the rest of her life ahead of her.

But Dr Nixon warns that without the proper support in place she will struggle to be rehabilitated into society.

She added: "She will need to receive intensive treatment in order to begin to modify her negative personality traits and trauma focused help to deal with the years of neglect and trauma she endured."

  • Britain’s Deadliest Kids premieres at 10pm Saturday 11th May exclusively on Quest Red and the QuestOD app
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