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A man ‘threw a 10-year-old boy off a 30-metre cliff after he tried to stop him from raping his sister’

A terrified 10-year-old boy was thrown off a 30-metre cliff and incredibly survived the fall after trying to stop a man who was raping his sister, a jury heard.

Anthony Stocks, 54, is accused of taking the boy to the top of a cliff in Brighton, East Sussex, and throwing him into the void after the boy tried to stop him from raping his underage sister. He denies all charges.

Oxford Crown Court heard the incident unfolded before the eyes of a witness who was walking at the foot of the towering white chalk cliffs when he heard a “screech” and saw “a small shape fall as if it had been thrown from the cliff “.

Stocks, described in court as manipulative and selfish by the prosecution, appeared before the jury accused of rape of a girl under 13 years of age and attempted murder of the 10-year-old boy, charges that he denies.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson, opening the case, told the jury: “The defendant forced a girl under the age of 13 to have sexual contact with him, knowing it was wrong.

“The boy had started trying to intervene. Unknown to the boy’s mother, the defendant took him to Brighton and, in particular, the cliffs.

“That afternoon, the boy fell 100 feet from the edge of the cliff onto the underground concrete path.

Anthony Stocks is currently on trial at Oxford Crown Court (Steve Parsons/PA)
Anthony Stocks is currently on trial at Oxford Crown Court (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA file)

“Miraculously he did not die, but he was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to a London hospital. At first it was believed that what had happened to him was a terrible accident, but investigations revealed a different and much darker picture.”

The prosecutor told the jury that Stocks deliberately pushed the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over the edge of the cliff with the intention of killing him.

“The defendant tried to kill him by pushing him off the cliff,” he told the jury. “The defendant may have instantly regretted what he had done, but the moment he pushed the victim, it was the climax of a plan to get the boy out of the way so that he could no longer interfere.”

He added that the attempted murder was “planned” as Stocks had previously taken the boy to a quarry in Oxfordshire and “contemplated” pushing him off the cliff, before changing his mind.

The twice-married defendant, from Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, took the boy on a train from London and arrived in Brighton on the afternoon of the alleged offence, which took place in the early 2020s.

A witness was walking with a friend towards the cliff ladder when he saw the boy and the defendant walking along the grass edge and heading towards the top of the cliff.

“The boy had his hands outstretched as if he were balancing; he seemed to be having fun,” the prosecutor said. “The defendant walked behind him and kept pace with him.”

The jury heard that Mr Boulding and his friend returned to the cliff and saw a crowd of people. As they approached, they realized they were surrounding the child who was “clearly in bad shape” but still alive.

Stocks and the boy took a train from London to Brighton and took a taxi from the marina.
Stocks and the boy took a train from London to Brighton and took a taxi from the marina. (Getty/iStock)

The prosecutor added that Stocks did not flee the scene, but rather joined the various members of the public who came to the boy’s aid, the jury heard.

“The accused spoke to a number of people at the scene, civilians and members of the emergency services.” Jurors heard that he was inconsistent in his account of what happened, rolled a cigarette and looked at his phone.

The court heard the boy’s injuries were very serious, including several deep lacerations to the scalp, abrasions to the chest, multiple bruises, multiple fractures to the left arm and deformity to the left shoulder.

He was sedated, put in a splint on his arm and airlifted to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, where he had to be resuscitated before being put into a medical coma.

Due to the “extremely high impact trauma” the boy suffered, he has no memory of the fall itself, the jury heard.

The defendant, originally from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was first arrested shortly after the fall on suspicion of child neglect and causing or permitting serious injury to a child.

He told police he had asked the boy if he wanted to go to the beach, before taking him to the top of the cliffs near Brighton Marina.

The defendant said he sat on a bench and smoked a cigarette while the boy stood on the edge of the cliffs. The prosecutor continued: “Mr Stocks had his head down and suddenly the boy disappeared. The defendant thought he was hiding. He ran and found him at the foot of the cliff.”

Stocks was arrested again on May 12 last year on suspicion of sexual activity with a child under 13 and rape of a child under 13.

At the beginning of the police interrogation, his lawyer read a prepared statement on behalf of the defendant in which he stated: “I am not sexually attracted to children and have not attempted to engage in or instigate sexual activity with children.”

He subsequently refused to answer the officers’ questions. Stocks was arrested again on November 23, 2023 on suspicion of attempted murder.

The trial is scheduled to resume.

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