At 11.45am, a text was sent from Ellie’s phone telling a friend that she was not going to school that day.
After the murder, Griffiths drove home and told a neighbour he had self-harmed, with deep scratches to his neck.
“In truth, the injuries to the defendant’s neck and to his hand were nothing to do with self-infliction but very much more likely the product of his young victim having fought for her life as she was attacked,” Mr Smith said.
Griffiths then asked his neighbour to drive him to school, where he spoke to the matron and sent messages to Ellie’s phone. He was collected from school from his mother, who later took him to a friend’s house in Chippenham.
At 3pm, Ellie’s father Matthew Gould returned home to find his daughter lying “face down in a pool of blood, with the knife in her neck,” Mr Smith said.
Griffiths was arrested outside his friend’s home at 6pm.
In a victim personal statement, Mr Gould said: “The image of Ellie lying there on the floor has haunted me ever since that afternoon.