Girl, 16, jailed for life for comb murder in a row over boys

A British court jailed a 16-year-old girl for life on Tuesday for murdering a teenager with an Afro comb during a row over boys in the street.

Rebecca Douglas, who was 15 at the time, stabbed 16-year-old Julie Sheriff in the head with the comb's pointed metal handle in south London in May 2011.

Sheriff never recovered from the swelling and bleeding the injury caused to her brain and died almost five months later.

A judge at London's Old Bailey court ordered Douglas to serve a minimum of 10 years after she was convicted of the murder last month.

Judge Nicholas Cooke told her: "Your victim died a long, lingering death some months after you attacked her."

He added that the type of comb Douglas had used to attack Sheriff "can be as effective a killing instrument as a stiletto knife. It is not a very nice thing to have in your hair."

The court heard that Douglas had taken the comb out of Sheriff's hair and tried to strike her with it in the collarbone.

When this had little effect, Douglas plunged the comb into Sheriff's skull, a witness told the court.

Prosecuting lawyer Jonathan Turner said the dispute between the pair, who met in the street by chance on the day of the attack, had been "about gossip and about boys".

Police found Douglas had sent a message from her mobile phone which said: "I see some girl that I hate, like I actually hate her with a passion, and I kind of stabbed her."

Sheriff's family moved to Britain in 2006 from Sierra Leone, where her father, Raouf, was a policeman.

He told the court in a statement: "I am left to wonder why I brought her here and if I hadn't, she would still be alive.

"The attack on my daughter was wicked, savage and senseless."

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