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Man ‘threw 10 year old boy off 100ft cliff after he tried to stop him raping his sister’

A terrified 10-year-old boy was thrown over a 100ft 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 a clifftop in Brighton, East Sussex and throwing him over the edge after the child had tried to stop him from rapping his underage sister. He denies all charges.

Oxford Crown Court heard the incident unfolded in front of the eyes of a witness who was walking at the bottom of the towering white chalk cliffs when he heard a “shriek” and saw “a small shape fall as if thrown from the cliff.”

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

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

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

“That afternoon, the boy fell 100 feet from the cliff edge onto the concrete underwalk below.

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

“Miraculously, he did not die, but he was very seriously injured and had to be airlifted to hospital in London. Initially, it was believed that what had happened to him was a dreadful 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, off the edge of the cliff with the intention of killing him.

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

She added that the attempted murder was “planned” as Stocks had previously taken the boy to a quarry in Oxfordshire and “contemplated” pushing the boy 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 offense, which took place in the early 2020s.

An eye-witness was walking with a friend towards the cliff stairwell when he saw the boy and the defendant walking on the grass verge and heading towards the top of the cliffs.

“The boy had his hands out as if he was balancing; he seemed to be having fun,” said the prosecutor. “The defendant was walking behind him and was matching his pace.”

The jury heard that Mr Boulding and his friend made their way back to the undercliff and noticed a crowd of people. When they got closer, they realized they were surrounding the child who was “clearly in a bad state” – but still alive.

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

The prosecutor said that Stocks did not run away from the scene but had instead joined the various members of the public who came to the child’s aid, the jury heard.

“The defendant spoke to a number of people at the scene, civilians and members of the emergency services.” Jurors heard he was not consistent in his account of what had happened and rolled a cigarette and looked at his phone.

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

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

Because of the “extremely high impact trauma” the boy suffered, he does not have any memory of the fall itself, the jury heard.

The defendant, who is originally from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was first arrested shortly after the ruling on suspicion of child neglect and causing or allowing the serious injury of a child.

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

The defendant said he sat on a bench and smoked a cigarette while the boy stood by the edge of the cliffs. The prosecutor continued: “Mr Stocks had his head down and suddenly, the boy was gone. The defendant thought he was hiding. “He ran and found him at the bottom 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 interview his solicitor read out a prepared statement on behalf of the defendant in which he stated: “I’m not sexually attracted to children and have not tried to have or instigated sexual activity with children.”

Thereafter, he refused to answer the officers’ questions. Stocks was re-arrested on November 23, 2023 on suspicion of attempted murder.

The trial is due to resume.

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