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Man who killed Lillian Groves convicted of threatening teenage girl

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THE drug driver who killed Lillian Groves has been found guilty of threatening a 13-year-old girl.

John Page, 37, shouted as he rode past the teenager's house in New Addington on a bicycle before menacingly running his finger across his throat as she looked out of the window.

Page, who knocked down 14-year-old Lillian in 2010 while driving after smoking cannabis, appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Monday charged with a public order offence.

He was found to have caused the 13-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, "harassment, alarm and distress".

Page, who lives with his mother, Maria Page, in Underwood, New Addington, claimed he was at home watching television at the time.

The case was adjourned after Ms Page did not attend court but when it resumed on Wednesday she refused to give evidence in front of our reporter, claiming that she felt "persecuted" by the Advertiser's coverage of her son's conviction for causing Lillian's death by careless driving in June 2010.

Incredibly, what had seemed a straightforward case then became a debate over the fundamental freedoms of the press after Page's defence counsel, Thalia Maragh, applied to have our journalist barred from the court while Maria Page gave evidence.

After four hours of deliberation, involving magistrates, a district judge and a submission from our reporter, the application was thrown out. As a result, Page's mother refused to give evidence.

Joseph McKenna, prosecuting, told the court how Page cycled past the girl's house with his nephew and shouted "Oi!" at 8.45pm on August 3.

The girl, who gave evidence behind a screen, said: "When I stood by the window he was looking up at me. He pointed his right arm at me then he did a cutting motion across his throat. It made me feel scared."

Mr McKenna asked: "Were you able to make out who it was? Was it John Page?"

"Yes it was," she replied.

After Page cycled away, the girl ran into her bathroom where her mother was taking a shower.

"Her face was bright red and she was shaking from head to foot," her mother said.

"All she kept saying was 'John, John, John'. It took me ten minutes to calm her down enough to tell me what had happened. I've never seen her like that before.

"It takes a big man to threaten a 13-year-old girl. It's disgusting."

The court heard how the threat stemmed from a "feud" between the two families.

Page claimed he had not ridden a bicycle since he was a child and that he was at home that evening.

He said: "I was indoors watching television going about my usual day. I don't come out of my house very often at all."

Clearly referring to running down Lillian, he added: "I was involved in an accident a couple of years ago and since then I have suffered with going out in public and sleeping.

"I have post traumatic distress. When I go outside I feel nervous and frightened a little bit. I feel people are looking at me and making comments."

Page called the allegations "total lies" but District Judge Robert Hunter said he was satisfied the 13-year-old was a "truthful" witness.

He added: "The fact that she identified Mr Page's nephew substantially reduces the chance of a mistake. I am satisfied she is not mistaken and I find this case proved."

Page, who was not present in court for the verdict, will be sentenced on November 28.

Man who killed Lillian Groves convicted of threatening teenage girl


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