Man who pushed child, who discovered sexual abuse, off 100ft cliff guilty of attempted murder

6 June 2024, 15:39 | Updated: 6 June 2024, 16:07

Anthony Stocks, 54, from Oxfordshire, was found guilty of a number of offences including attempted murder and rape
Anthony Stocks, 54, from Oxfordshire, was found guilty of a number of offences including attempted murder and rape. Picture: Thames Valley Police

By Flaminia Luck

A 54-year-old man from Oxfordshire been found guilty of attempted murder after he pushed a child off a cliff.

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Anthony Stocks carried out the attack near Brighton in 2022 after the victim discovered he had been sexually assaulting a girl.

Stocks - formerly of Icieni Close, Goring-on-Thames - has also been convicted of rape.

He is due to be sentenced at a later date yet to be confirmed.

The victim fell one hundred feet onto concrete - but miraculously, survived.

The boy’s fall was initially thought to be accidental
The boy’s fall was initially thought to be accidental. Picture: Alamy

He was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of four counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 and one count each of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, rape and attempted murder.

The joint investigation between Thames Valley Police and Sussex Police found that Anthony Stocks had hatched a plan to kill a young boy who had tried to stop him from his offending against a young girl.

Stocks had previously taken the boy to a quarry in Oxfordshire with a plan to push him off the edge, but he changed his mind.

However, on 24 September 2022, Stocks took the child to a set of cliffs at Ovingdean, near Brighton, where he carried out his plan, pushing the boy from the cliff edge.

The boy fell around 100 feet to the concrete floor beneath.He sustained extensive serious injuries, but miraculously, survived.

Initially, the boy’s fall was thought to be accidental, but following the launch of an investigation, a much darker reason for the fall became apparent.

Stocks was arrested on 23 November 2023 on suspicion of attempted murder, rape, and other sexual offences and was charged on the same day.

Over a period of three years between 2019 and 2022, Stocks was staying at an address in east Oxfordshire.

During his time there, he subjected a girl to rape and multiple sexual assaults.

The boy, who became aware of Stocks’ offending, attempted to intervene to stop Stocks continuing his abuse, and it was then that Stocks hatched his sordid plan to kill the boy.

The girl had told the boy about the offending and the boy put himself in the way of Stocks to try and stop the incidents from occurring.

Stocks made concerted efforts to stop this, and took the boy to a quarry nearby in east Oxfordshire with a thought of pushing him from the cliff edge.

Although he did not do this at that time, later in the same year, Stocks took the boy to see Chelsea Football Club before heading to Brighton and the cliff side at Ovingdean. He had told his female victim he was planning to push him from the cliff.

The boy was pushed from the cliff, falling 100 feet to the ground, where he sustained multiple severe injuries. He still suffers from ongoing issues as a result of the fall, but has otherwise made a miraculous recovery.

Read more: Toddler Bronson Battersby who was found dead next to his father's body died of dehydration, inquest hears

The boy fell around 100 feet to the concrete floor beneath
The boy fell around 100 feet to the concrete floor beneath. Picture: Alamy

'Horrific and evil offences'

The Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Rachel Jackson of Thames Valley Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “These were absolutely horrific and evil offences committed by Anthony Stocks.

“Over a period of around three years, Stocks had subjected the girl to sexual abuse and rape, and when the boy became aware of what was happening, Stocks hatched his evil plan to kill him.

“What then transpired is nothing short of horrifying. He won the boy’s trust, taking him to see Chelsea’s football stadium, as the boy was passionate about football, and particularly Chelsea FC.

“From there, he asked the boy if he wanted to go to the seaside.“The boy could have had no idea what Stocks had planned to do.

“Stocks took the boy to a set of cliffs in the area and pushed or threw him from the top, knowing that this would have almost certainly killed him.

“Miraculously, the boy survived this ordeal, although he has no recollection of the fall itself.

“Stocks had intended to kill the boy to get him out of the way so he could continue his offending against the girl. This failed, and Stocks was arrested.

“He is a very dangerous individual, who had no thought about anybody but himself, to protect himself from prosecution by removing the boy from the equation.

“He has not shown any remorse throughout the course of this investigation.“I would like to praise both victims for their unbelievable courage and resolve that helped us to bring Stocks to justice.

“They showed immense maturity and clarity, both in their interviews with police and at court, about what had happened to them.

“It’s because of this truly inspirational courage that Stocks has now been brought to justice and will be sent to prison for a long time.

“It has been truly humbling to support them through this investigation.

“This is without a doubt one of the worst cases of child abuse that I have investigated. The impact that this has had on both victims, as well as all of the officers and staff who investigated this, is not to be underestimated.

“I would like to thank everybody who was involved in bringing Stocks to justice, particularly our colleagues at Sussex Police in this challenging and distressing investigation.”

'Calculated offending'

Detective Constable Vicki Blythe, of Sussex Police’s Complex Abuse Unit, said: “Anthony Stocks’ calculated offending betrayed the trust of two young people, who must now live with the impact of his crimes for the rest of their lives.

“Both of his victims have shown remarkable courage and determination to support this investigation through to its conclusion. I would like to thank them both for helping us bring Stocks to justice.

“The events of 24 September, 2022, was alarming for residents of Ovingdean and the wider community. It was a miracle it did not end in more tragic circumstances, and I would also like to thank all of those who came forward with information and messages of support."

Read more: Arsenal fan found guilty of headbutting pundit Roy Keane after team's victory over Manchester United

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