The Christian parents whose adopted daughter, Rosi, was bullied to death have forgiven the teenage girls who were this week found guilty of her manslaughter.
Watch the parents’ statement
Reverend Simon Boxall and his wife Rachel said: “We continue to pray for those who are responsible for Rosi’s death.
“We want them to know that we forgive them.
“That does not mean that what they did doesn’t matter, of course it does.”
He added: “Forgiveness means that we refuse to be shackled by bitterness and our prayer is that forgiveness will allow the girls to be released from the burden of what they’ve done so that they can even now grow into the sort of people that God intended them to be.”
He spoke with fondness about Rosi, saying, “We are sure that she is now safe in God the Father’s arms.”
Hatice Can, 15, and 19-year-old Oluwakemi (known as Kemi) Ajose were convicted for causing the death of Rosimeiri Boxall in May last year.
Miss Boxall, 19, jumped from a window after suffering prolonged bullying from the pair.
The court heard she had been slapped, punched and had deodorant sprayed in her face.
Part of the abuse was recorded on a mobile phone and showed the attackers pulling Miss Boxall from her bed.
Reports say she was also called a “slag” and “whore”.
Just before Miss Boxall jumped from a third floor window, she was told by Can: “Do you want to die? Jump out of the window.”
When the girl replied: “Do you want me to jump?” Miss Can said simply: “Yes”.
As she lay dying on the street below, Miss Can looked over her body and said: “Serves you right”.
Miss Can had spent much of the trial talking to friends on her mobile phone and laughing as she tried on her barrister’s wig and gown.
Roger Smart QC, who was prosecuting, said: “Rosi leapt to her death from the kitchen window of Kemi’s flat to escape from a prolonged period of physical and verbal abuse.”
“Immediately before Rosi fell, she was clearly in fear of being hurt physically.
“This fear caused her to leap out of the window, as a result of which she met her death.”
Miss Boxall was born in Brazil and was adopted by the Christian couple.
They had found the girl in a children’s home where she had been abandoned by her alcoholic mother.
Detective Inspector Bob Mead said outside the court: “Ajose and Can both claimed during the trial that their actions were no more than high jinks and a playground catfight.
“Rosi clearly did not perceive it that way, and neither did the jury.
“Bullying needs to be taken seriously and I would urge the victims of bullying ‘please don’t just put with it’.”
Oluwakemi Ajose was remanded back to a psychiatric hospital, Hatice Can was remanded to the care of her local authority.
They are due to be sentenced on 15 December.