"I like hurting little things that can't fight back."
It was the 3rd of April 2010. Twelve year old Tia Rigg lived with her mother Lynne and her grandparents in Manchester, United Kingdom. Tia didn't have any easy life. Even before she was born, she had been placed on the child protection register due to her mother's drug addiction and violent behaviour. Child protection agencies were in and out of her life and in 1998, child protection agencies said that Tia was "likely to suffer neglect". This was later changed to "likely to suffer physical abuse".
Despite her turbulent home life, Tia loved her mother and grandparents and siblings and always smiled and had fun when she could. She adored Manchester United football club too so when her uncle, Lynne's brother John Maden, asked if Tia could babysit his daughter, Tia agreed. It was something that she often did and Manchester United were playing against Chelsea that day so she knew she could watch it on TV at John's house. It was a Saturday and John called Lynne at 2.17pm. Tia arrived at his house in Cheetham Hill which was close to her own home before 3pm that day, the 3rd of April.
John was an unemployed father of one child. He had a ten year old girl. The thirty seven year old was divorced and spent his days online. Nobody knew exactly what he was doing online but if they had known, he would never have been allowed to be around children ever again.
That day, Tia thought she was going to have a fun Saturday. She had been in John's home many times. He was her uncle after all. But while Tia viewed John as part of her family and someone she loved and trusted, John did not see Tia in the same way.
John had carefully planned exactly what Tia would be doing in his home that day. He had planned it with great precision following a year of preparation. John had developed an obsessive interest in images and reading materials relating to paedophilia, rape and torture. He looked at many articles and videos which involved different methods of killings and created folders on his desktop to store images. Some of his folders were called snuff, snuff movies and brutal rape. And he was about to act out the most brutal of rapes and torture on his beautiful and unsuspecting niece, Tia.
Just 45 minutes after Tia arrived at John's house, the police received a call. John wanted to report a murder:
"My niece has been murdered by me ... I have just finished killing her now."
John was asked why he murdered his niece and he killed her because he felt like it.
Police arrived at John's house just two minutes later. It did not appear that there had just been a murder. Police found John to be "chillingly calm" and smoking a cigarette. He brought police inside the house and to a bedroom. There was nothing police could do to help Tia. She was already dead.
Tia was on the floor of the bedroom. She was naked except for just her socks and there was a ligature around her neck. The ligature was a guitar string. Tia had also been stabbed in the stomach and severely sexually assaulted and raped. There were two knives, a broom stick and a sex toy beside her body. Tia's hands were tied behind her back with shoelaces. Tia's blood was each of the items beside her body.
A post mortem examination revealed that Tia had been stabbed in the abdomen and suffered severe internal injuries. Some of the internal injuries had been inflicted while Tia was still alive. The official cause of death was ligature strangulation. She had been tortured and raped before she was murdered. John was charged with Tia's murder.
Tia's Mother Lynne
It was the Prosecution's case that Tia was drugged as soon as she arrived at the house that day. Toxicology tests revealed an anti-psychotic drug, Olanzapine, was present in her blood, which would have had a sedative effect. John had looked up how to drug people to prevent them going into clinical shock and unconsciousness to prolong their agony as they are tortured and killed.
John tortured Tia and viciously sexually assaulted her before he stabbed and strangled her. He pleaded guilty.
Justice Keith, the Judge in the case, said during sentencing
"It is inescapable that Tia Rigg died because you decided to realise your fantasies about torturing and killing a young child.The fact that you chose your 12-year-old niece, who had put her trust in you, makes what you did all the more unspeakable, as was the fact that all of this was planned by you and you lured her into your home by pretending you wanted her to babysit for you.It is difficult to know how long Tia's ordeal lasted. The terror, the unimaginable pain you inflicted on her, the indignities you subjected her ... while still alive.This was an horrific crime in which a young girl who had everything to live for and placed her trust in you was inveigled into your lair.It was planned, it was premeditated and her agony must have been prolonged."
John was sentenced to life in prison. It was recommended that he serve a whole life sentence. Tia's murder was a sexually motivated murder that was fuelled by all the extreme pornography that John looked at online. Over the course of a year he viewed thousands of child pornography images, violent and extreme rapes and murders. He took great satisfaction in planning the most extreme rape and murder he could. That was evident by his use of Olanzapine on Tia. Not only did he want to live out his own sick and twisted sexual fantasies, he wanted Tia to realise what she was going through and suffer as much as possible. He took pleasure in seeing her in horrific pain and sheer agony. There is no question that this man should never ever be released.
How old would Tia be now?
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello
"My family and myself are good, decent and very honest people."
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