An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Monday sentenced a teenage boy to life in prison for sexually assaulting and murdering a four-year-old girl in Mardan, DawnNewsTV reported.

Fifteen-year-old convict Mohammad Nabi has also been fined Rs1 million.

Nabi abducted the girl from outside her home in January this year. She was found dead a day later in a nearby sugarcane field. A medical examination revealed that she had been raped before being strangled. However, later the police negated the claim, saying that the convict had attempted to rape the child but ended up suffocating her to death with his hands after she began shouting and crying.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police had collected and sent DNA samples of 243 suspects to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency in Lahore to match samples recovered from the crime scene. The convict was arrested on Feb 7 after his DNA specimen matched a blood sample collected from the field.

The convict, a daily wage labourer, confessed in February to sexually assaulting and killing her, after which he was sent to jail on judicial remand. He is a relative of the victim and lived on the same street as her.

The girl's murder had sparked outrage across the country, and the Supreme Court also took notice of the murder. Police had announced a Rs500,000 reward for anyone who could provide information in the rape and murder case, or could aid in the arrest of the criminal.