Episode 42 - The Brutal Murder of James Bulger – Part 2

What had begun as a relatively normal day in Kirkby, England, would end with a missing two-year-old. It is a case which continues to shock Great Britain and indeed the world.  


Following on from our last episode, you will recall that James Bulger had disappeared from his mother’s side while she was making a transaction in a small butcher shop in the strand shopping mall. In the previous episode of this three-part series, you heard the love story of Denise and Ralph Bulger as they started their humble family in Kirkby. After the devastating stillbirth of their first child Kirsty, they excitedly welcomed James into the world. James was born a bright-eyed and cheeky boy, full of independence and curiosity. Given their grief over the loss of Kirsty, they held James closely, loved him deeply and rarely let him out of their sight.   

On the 12th of February 1993, two-year-old James excitedly accompanied his mother, auntie, and cousin to the mall. Only minutes later, he would be missing, after disappearing from his mother’s side in an instant.   

While police, family and the community, jumped into action to find the toddler, a piece of the puzzle was about to be discovered, which would blow his disappearance wide open.


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The morning after James went missing, Ralph and Denise returned to the police station for an update on the search for their little boy. Neither of them had slept, rather, they had sat numbly on the couch at Denise’s mother’s home, where family members attempted to offer comfort and hope.  

The previous evening, they had identified James in a single frame of CCTV footage from inside the mall, which showed him walking out of the butchery alone. Another shot taken moments later, showed Denise racing from the store when she realised he had gone. Those shots were taken at 3.39 pm and 3.40 pm. By the next morning, the police had more images to share. 

Cameras had captured James at 3.42 pm, walking about the mall, with two young boys. Each boy held one of his hands tightly while he was positioned between the pair.  

One minute later at 3.43 pm, cameras recorded as James and the boys walked out of the mall, using the exit that led toward the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. 

Just three minutes separated James leaving the butchery without his mother and being walked out of the mall by two unidentified boys. 

The boys accompanying James looked to be in their early teens, though the images were grainy and didn’t show their faces. 

Police reassured the couple that it was likely the boys had found James and taken him out of the mall as a prank or to get up to a bit of mischief. He likely resembled a younger sibling and they had probably taken him to play together for a while.  

Denise and Ralph breathed a sigh of relief with Ralph commenting:  

‘He’s gonna be all right, Denise,’ ‘He’s with two young kids – he’s gonna be all right.’ 

Their biggest fear was that James had been abducted by a paedophile, or a person with ill intentions towards their innocent boy. Two teenage boys were surely a dam sight better than someone like that. They would probably get bored of James and leave him somewhere where he could be picked up, maybe a little worse for wear, but intact and unharmed.  

But this couldn’t have been any further from the truth.  

Not long after being shown the footage, Ralph and Denise were asked to participate in a press conference.  

Denise felt it was her duty to face the cameras as James’s mother and the person he had been with when he disappeared.  

The press room was packed with cameras and reporters as she made a desperate plea to the world – ‘If anyone has got my baby, please just bring him back,’. With that, she broke down and was escorted out of the room and away from the flashing lights.  

News stations all over Britain ran James’s story, with the grainy images of the two young boys being broadcast, alongside recent pictures of the blue-eyed toddler.  

Search continues:  

Behind the media statements and hubbub of the police station, searchers were still out there looking for James. By now the bulk of the canal that ran behind the mall had been dredged by the police dive squad. And they had found something.  

A man in a full set of diving gear walked into the room where Ralph and Denise were waiting after the press conference. In his hand, he held a tiny pair of children’s trainers. He thrust them in front of the couple without a word. Denise knew immediately – the shoes were not James’s. They were no closer to finding their boy. 

By Saturday night more than 24 hours had passed since James was last in his mother’s arms.  

Everyone involved was running purely on adrenaline, but no one was going to give up until James was found. By now, the story had been broadcast around the world. The disappearance of a two-year-old from his mother’s side was heart-wrenching and the outpouring of support towards Ralph and Denise was tremendous. But they were in a living nightmare, each minute taking them further away from the last time they had held or seen James.  

By the following day, Sunday the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day, there were no new leads or sightings and another press conference was held. It was opened by the lead investigator DCI Geoff MacDonald.  

‘It is now forty-four hours since James went missing on Friday. We have continued searching buildings, open land and the canal area in the Strand. I would like to make an appeal for anyone living in the area of Bootle, and perhaps towards Walton, to search their gardens, their back sheds and anything of that nature as the child may have wandered off and found somewhere to sleep. ‘We have a sighting of James at around 4.30 p.m. on Friday in the Breeze Hill area of Walton near a reservoir. This is a fully enclosed reservoir and no access can be made into the water area. A lady saw a small boy answering his description with two other boys. She viewed the video pictures of the two boys and is quite confident that they are the two boys she saw, and also, having seen the photographs of James, she is quite satisfied that that is James also. We are anxious to trace any more persons who may have knowledge of who these two boys are or who may have seen them in this particular area. I do have enlarged photographs of the boys. ‘We have been getting help from the public and we are anxious that anyone who has information come forward. We request vigilance from everyone to search the area for James.’ 

Next it was Ralphs turn to speak:  

‘Me and my wife just want to say to the lads who were seen with James, whoever they are, if they could come forward and get themselves eliminated or bring my son back, so long as he gets back . . . If they could bring him to the nearest police station or somewhere safe, or phone, or something . . . or anyone who can give information, no matter how small it is, just get in contact.’ 

DCI Macdonald finished the press conference with these words. 

‘The witness who saw James with the boys asked about the little boy. They said they were in the area having just found the child. Then they took him away and went off into Breeze Hill. She thought they were round about twelve years of age and it was about a mile away from the Strand. They left the reservoir area and went towards Breeze Hill, the main dual carriageway. It is a distinct possibility that they are frightened. We are also looking at the possibility of boys who have run away from home, either absconders or missing from their homes, possibly squatting. Initially the woman thought it was unusual but then said she was confident they all seemed to be together because the little boy seemed happy to go along with them.’ 


Later that afternoon, Denise went out searching the area by car with their police liaison officer. A radio call came in to return to the station immediately and to turn the radio off. 

Denise arrived to the station and was met by DCI Macdonald – after an agonising silence where the man seemed to have to compose himself he stated “I’m Sorry… we’ve found him and it’s not good news”. Denise let out a primal scream and blacked out. She fell to the floor, the pain too much for her body to handle.  

Ralph’s brother Jimmy arrived at the station for an update just moments later. Jimmy had been searching on foot in the local area with Ralph and DCI Macdonald told him about the heartbreaking discovery. He asked Jimmy to find Ralph and give him the news as it was better coming from family.  

Jimmy returned to where they had been searching and found Ralph in a vehicle. He pulled Ralph aside and told him; ‘I’ve got some news, Ralph,’ ‘It’s not good, I’m afraid.’ ‘Ralph, they have found baby James. They have found him. I am so, so sorry, but he is dead. He’s dead, Ralph.’ 

‘We need to get back to the station, Ralph. Denise is there and she needs you. She knows that your son is dead. Let’s go back now and sort things out. Come on, let’s go there now. We will find out everything when we get there, and you will need to look after Denise, but I am here for you, Ralph, whenever you need me. I am just so sorry.’ 

Jimmy drove Ralph back to the station to meet with Denise and get more information about what had happened. They were reunited at the station, each now aware that their baby was gone. The state of shock ran deep and for hours they sat in stunned silence as officers and family members offered their condolences.  

Later that evening an officer arrived to say they needed someone to formally identify James’s body. Ralph volunteered immediately but his brother Jimmy told him it wasn’t a good idea. He didn’t want his brother’s last memory of his child to be of him dead on a cold, steel table in a medical office. While Jimmy left to identify James’s remains, DCI Macdonald began to share some details of James’s final living hours.  

James part 2: 

James’s body had been found. But this was no accident, no mere horseplay gone wrong. What Denise and Ralph were about to learn about the circumstances of James’s death would be infinitely worse than they could have ever imagined.  

*Graphic warning* 

A group of young boys had been playing on the railway tracks in Walton when they saw what they thought was a dead animal or toy lying across the carriageway. As they moved closer to investigate they discovered it was in fact the body of a small child. James had been found on a railway track nearly three miles away from the mall where he had last been with his mother.  

His tiny body had been severed in two by a train as it ran him over. Half of his body lay on one side of the tracks and the other was metres away on the other side. But even before this final mutilation, it was evident he had been brutalised in the hours before being discarded on the tracks.  

When he was found his blue eyes were wide open and his mouth was slightly apart. His hair was splattered in red, crusted blood.  

His body was a road map of torture – he had contusions and marks across almost every inch of his skin and the flesh on his forehead had been pushed back, exposing his brain. His face was badly beaten and there was blue paint mixed in with his blood.  

The top half of his body was found with his coat still intact, but his bottom half was naked. His underwear was found some distance from his body, completely covered in blood.  

His autopsy would later reveal that he had forty-two injuries mainly to his head and face but also to his body. He didn’t die during the time he was tortured but he was still alive when he was left on the tracks. He had passed away some time before the train hit him. His cheek revealed bruising thought to have been caused by a shoe and his genitals had also been damaged.   

There was no question that James had been deliberately attacked and murdered.  

Around the railway line where James was found, officers discovered blood-stained bricks, stones and iron bars as well as batteries and a tin of blue paint.  

With James’s remains now found, the investigation changed direction. It was now time to focus on finding his killers.  

But who could be responsible for such a brutal and violent attack on an innocent child?  

The boys:   

The last known people to have been seen with James became the focus of the investigation.  

While Ralph and Denise closed in on themselves in an effort to cope with James’s murder, officers began bringing in every boy of about the same age as those seen on the CCTV footage for questioning. More than 60 youngsters were asked about their whereabouts during the time James disappeared. With the news of the discovery of James’s body being broadcast worldwide even parents began to ask their sons if they had anything to do with the case.  

On Wednesday evening, just three days after James was found an anonymous woman walked into the Marsh Lane Police station and told officers that she had information about his murder.  

She was a friend of the Venables family who had a son named Jon. She knew he and a friend by the name of Robert Thompson had skipped school on the Friday that James had disappeared. That night he had returned home with blue paint on his jacket. She didn’t pay much mind to it until she saw the CCTV footage on the news and realised the boy looked a lot like the blurry shapes of the boys captured in the images. There was just one problem with her story –both of the boys were just ten years old, surely too young to have been involved in such a heartless slaughter.  

Still the tip had to be followed up and wasting no time, police officers brought Robert Thompson in for questioning.  

The Thompson family lived just a few hundred yards from the Walton railway. Robert’s mother Ann answered the door to the police and his younger brother Simon was there too. When officers told Ann what they were there for Simon commented Robert knew about the murder and had taken some flowers to leave at the scene. When Robert walked down the stairs wearing his school uniform officers again questioned whether such a small and young boy could be responsible. He was sat down on the couch by the officers and they told him they were there to talk about James’s murder. The boy immediately began crying, though without tears and he anxiously shuffled his feet. He was taken to the station with his mother while forensic investigators began scouring the family home for evidence. Straight away they could see blood on his shoes.  

Meanwhile, Jon Venables was also visited at his family home. His mother was home too though she seemed unsurprised that the police had come knocking as her son was a known truant. When they asked Jon about James he started to cry, just as Robert had and he said ‘I don’t want to go to prison, Mum. I didn’t kill the baby,’ he cried. ‘It’s that Robert Thompson, he always gets me into trouble.’ 

Jon was asked to fetch his mustard-coloured coat which showed a small handprint and spatters of blue paint on the sleeve.  

The boys were taken to separate police stations for questioning.  


The stakes couldn’t have been higher for the officers charged with interviewing the two ten-year-old boys. Firstly, interviewing children requires a unique skill set that few officers possess. It’s not like interviewing an adult where you can use interrogation techniques and aggression in order to catch a suspect out in a lie. Children have a natural fear of authorities. They will often clam up and become so frightened that they cannot speak.  The interrogator must first build trust to make them feel at ease like they are friends and not authority figures.  Any misstep at this stage of the process could cause the child to shut down and be unable to participate in the interview any longer.  

Secondly, the interviewer must establish whether the child has the capacity to differentiate right from wrong. Without confirming that in the child, there is simply no case. The part of the brain that allows us to differentiate between right and wrong usually develops by the age of two. But social, emotional and physiological factors like abuse, malnutrition, neglect or birth trauma can delay or inhibit this part of the brain from developing as it should.  

In this case, the pressure was further compounded given the fact that the whole world was watching. News of James’s horrific injuries had spread like wildfire around the world and the public was demanding his killers be brought to justice quickly.  

Robert Thompson: 

Robert Thompson was born on the 23rd of August 1982. He was the fifth of what would become seven children. His father abandoned the family when Robert was young but not before Robert had witnessed countless beatings against his mother. His older brother had been put in the care of child services after being seen with bruises, black eyes and cigarette burns on his face. After his father left, his mother turned to alcohol to help her cope. She was known to start fights with anyone who crossed her.  She attempted suicide a number of times while Robert was young. Rather than the loving and warm sibling rivalry, Ralph had grown up with, Robert and his four older brothers fought relentlessly, each beating the next youngest in line on regular occasions.   

From very early on Robert was known as a troublemaker. He had been found wandering the streets alone at midnight a number of times and was known as a moody and quiet kid. He regularly skipped school and generally ran amuck though nothing would have pointed to him becoming involved in such a horrific crime. When he was in primary school he started to shoplift small items from local stores and then throw or otherwise destroy them before running away.  

Jon Venables:  

Jon Venables was born on the 13th of August 1982, just ten days before Robert. He was the second of what would become three children and just like Robert his life had been unsettled from an early age. His parents separated when he was three though his father was still involved in his life. His mother was a strict disciplinarian and was known to be very harsh with Jon. She was also known as a frequent visitor to the local pub. 

Jon was a bright child though he was prone to hyperactivity and wild outbursts. When he didn’t get his way at school, he would throw himself around the room knocking items off shelves and being generally destructive. As he got older his outbursts became more violent and he would wield scissors against his classmates and throw things across the room. On one particularly violent occasion, Jon held a ruler against the throat of a classmate from behind. For this, he was suspended and sent to a new school. It was here that he fatefully met Robert Thompson.   

As soon as the two met Jon began to skip school and teachers would later recall how the friendship brought out the worst in each of them. They emboldened each other and encouraged each other to take out their aggression against weaker and younger children at the school. Both had become accomplished liars and more devious in their activities. While Robert was more likely to internalise his aggression and become dark and brooding, Jon was more outwardly violent using his physicality to get the attention or reaction he desired.   

Separately the two were definitely troublemakers but together they were a nightmare.  

The interrogations:  

Officers started slowly with both the boy’s asking questions about sports and their interests. After establishing that Robert knew the difference between a truth and a lie the officer asked him about the Friday just gone.  

Robert admitted he had skipped school and gone to the mall with Jon. He also admitted he had seen James with his mother. When he was asked whether it was right or wrong that James should have been killed, he replied “Wrong”. Asked again, “Its wrong, isn’t it?” he replied “yeah”. He denied having anything to do with James’s disappearance even when the officer pressed him about appearing in the CCTV footage holding James’s hand. ‘Yeah, but that may not have been me and Jon that killed him. But I know it wasn’t me that killed him, or Jon.’ 

Meanwhile, at the other station, Jon admitted that Robert was his mate but that he didn’t like to spend time with him because he always got them into trouble.  

‘I don’t go near him at school sometimes ’cos he causes trouble at school. He just wants me to stay out late and say we can do good things and I say to him what is there to do in the dark?’ ‘He just says come on the railway with me and that . . . you know, by the police station.’  

But in contrast to Robert’s statement, Jon denied having been at the railway that day. He agreed the pair had gone to the mall but it was just to pinch and usually they just threw the stuff they stole at windows and the like. When questioned about the blue paint on his coat he said Robert had thrown it at him when they were mucking about.  

Both interviewers took multiple breaks throughout the process. When dealing with children their ability to pay attention is short and keeping them energised was critical to gaining meaningful information.  

By 10 pm that night during each of the boy’s third interviews of the day – officers finally got the break the had been patiently working towards.  

Robert admitted that they had seen James walking around on his own in the mall. “[Jon] grabbed the baby’s hand and just walked round the Strand and then he let him go loose. When we were by the church he let him go.” 

It was the first time the Police knew for sure they were onto something.  

Robert went on to say James was begging for his mother and he told Jon he should take him back. He blamed everything on Jon. While he relayed his version of events to the officers he cried though just like when they had first arrived at his home to question him, his wails came without tears. He said the pair had walked James to Breeze Hill and left him there on top of the hill.  

That night, after many hours of interviews, the boys both stayed at their separate stations with their mothers bedded beside them.  

The following morning the boys were led back into the interview rooms to continue the questioning from the day before.  

Bit by bit Robert revealed more information about that terrible day. At each twist and turn, he pointed the finger at Jon, blaming him for throwing paint in James’s eyes and for hitting the child.   

Meanwhile Jon had been told that Robert had told them it was all his fault that James had been taken and attacked. He responded by saying ‘I never killed him. We took him and left him by the canal, that’s all,’. By that afternoon though the boy was exhausted and finally he was ready to share exactly what had happened.  

After getting a hug from his mum he blurted out “I did kill him. What about his mum, will you tell her I’m sorry?” 


*Graphic warning* 

With this revelation, investigators now knew both of the boys were involved in James’s horrific death. What they now needed to establish was what exactly had happened that day. Was there an instigator? Was one child more culpable than the other?   

What they discovered would chill even the most seasoned detective to their core.  

James was not the first child the boys had targeted that day. Earlier on the same day, the pair had attempted to get their hands on a three-year-old girl and her younger brother who were also shopping with their mother. They planned to take the toddler and push him into the road where he would get run over by a car, making their death look like an accident. When the child wouldn’t leave with them, they targeted James.  

Jon admitted they found James standing outside the butchery. They led the smiley and trusting boy out of the mall and away from the safety and love of his mother. First, they visited the canal where Robert wanted him to look at his own reflection so he could push the boy into the water and watch him drown. But by then James had become distressed and kept asking for his mum so they led him up the reservoir and towards the railway.  

Heartbreakingly, there had been a number of opportunities for James’s life to be saved. As they walked away from the mall and down the street, a number of people stopped the trio and asked if the boys were ok.  Jon and Robert told anyone who questioned them that James was their younger brother. James did not appear distressed or upset and so they were let on their way. One person who stopped the boys was told that they had found the boy wandering and that they were walking him to the police station which was just around the corner.  

Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. Rather than walking to safety, they were walking him towards his death.  

Young James was made to walk three miles on his tiny legs. When they finally arrived at the train station the 10-year-olds splashed blue paint directly into his eyes. They found stones and bricks around the tracks which they used to smash into his head and body. They shoved batteries into his mouth and his anus. All the while James screamed and cried for his mother. Jon said that even when James was pushed to the ground, he would get up again and Robert yelled at him ‘Stay down, you stupid divvie.’ 

After this, the boys grabbed a 22-pound iron bar and hit James over the head causing 10 skull fractures. To conceal their crimes they dragged James’s body onto the railway tracks believing that being hit by a train would make his death appear to be an accident. Jon claimed Robert was “laughing his head off” throughout the attack.  

James’s final words were “I want my mum”.  

After slaughtering James, both Robert and Jon returned home and behaved completely normally. Their parents were none the wiser to their children’s horrific actions that day.  

Even with Jon’s detailed confession, Robert continued to deny being involved. He never wavered from his assertion that everything that had been done to James had been carried out by Jon.  

That afternoon, Jon was taken in a police car to retrace the route they had taken that day. At 6.15 pm Jon Venables was formally charged with James’s murder. At 6.40 pm Robert Thompson was unconcerned when charged with the same. He simply stated, ‘It was Jon that done that.’ 


The public reaction to the boy’s arrests was strong and swift. By the time they were set to appear in court before the magistrates two days after their arrest, interest in the case had reached a fever pitch. Crowds of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the UK’s youngest killers and their victim’s families gathered outside the court and the event was poised to turn violent. Ralph and Denise decided not to attend, they weren’t ready to look their sons killers in the eyes and the hearing was a mere formality anyway and so they stayed away.  

Emotions were high and the police asked Denise and Ralph to issue a statement urging restraint in respect of their son’s memory. They dutifully issued the statement but it did little to calm the emotion of the crowds watching the proceedings.  

That day, the boys were taken to the court early in the morning before the doors had opened to avoid crossing the gathering masses. For this hearing, the boys were unable to be named in the media due to their ages and were therefore identified simply as Child A and Child B. Media were allowed to attend the proceedings but no public spectators would be allowed inside the court. The hearing was over in mere minutes and the boys were prepared to exit the courtroom. This time though, they would have to be taken through the front doors. Or so the angry crowds outside believed.  

As they supposedly exited the building mayhem erupted as onlookers hurled abuse, stones, eggs, and bricks at the windowless police vans. ‘Bastards, ‘Let them hang.’ Was shouted through the crowds. The police had predicted this response and had removed the boys from the courthouse via a hidden rear entrance. The police vans out front were empty.  

News cameras were recording as violence broke amongst those in attendance and images of the scenes were broadcast internationally.  

Ralph and Denise were devastated. While they understood the intention behind the activism, they felt it was a violation of their precious boy’s memory that violence was being perpetrated in his name. But they weren’t able to dwell on it. James’s funeral was approaching and arrangements needed to be made.  

Only after that would they be able to steel themselves for the next step. The trial of two ten-year-old boys, merely children themselves, who were accused of murdering a two-year-old boy, callously, brutally and heartlessly.  

The funeral:  

James was set to be farewelled in the same church his sister Kirsty who had never taken a breath in this world had been farewelled. But the circumstances of James’s funeral couldn’t have been more different.  

Public interest in Ralph and Denise was overwhelming. Their family liaison officers advised that one way to keep the funeral ceremony private was to offer an alternative way for journalists and the media to participate in James’s send-off. They suggested a live broadcast from within the church which would mean no one would need to attend other than friends and family who knew and loved James. The couple agreed, knowing that there was little alternative other than to have a bunch of random strangers invade their son’s mass.  

Ralph and Denise selected a plot beneath a tree as the site for James’s burial. In years to come, the spot under the tree would become a place of reflection if not solace as they recalled the happier memories of James.  

Denise selected an outfit carefully for James to be dressed in inside his coffin. She chose his favourite trousers, a waistcoat a teddy bear, his favourite motorbike toy, and a torch that he took to bed with him every night so that he could see in the dark.   During his service, atop his coffin was the chair his father had crafted so especially for him, filled with his favourite toys.  

Outside of making arrangements for James’s funeral Ralph and Denise rarely left the house. Neither had returned to the home they had once shared as a family. The reminders of James filled every inch of those walls and the pain was just too raw. Ralph took to drinking to cope with his emotions while Denise lay in bed or on the couch in a somewhat catatonic state, oblivious to the comings and goings happening around them.  

Monday the 1st of March 1993 dawned cold, grey, and gloomy. The day of their son’s funeral had arrived. Friends and family gathered at the church to bid a final farewell to the sweet blue-eyed boys who had once brought so much light to their lives. Members of the public lined the streets leading to the church, all bowing their heads in silence as the hearse carrying James drove past.  

During the ceremony, Ralph held Denise tightly as the hymns and prayers they had so carefully selected were recited. She was broken, inconsolable as Father Michael spoke about their boy.  

‘For three years we had James and in those three years from what I can gather he certainly developed a personality of his own, fond of his dancing, putting on his Michael Jackson music, someone who liked to make people laugh, someone who was always in good form, someone who liked his own chair, someone we are going to miss very much. ‘James Patrick didn’t waste life. He lived those three years to the full and put all his energies into it, staying up at night right until the last minute. Jesus Christ didn’t turn the children away from him. James Patrick has his very own little chair up in heaven now. Maybe He has James Patrick on his knee. We are going to miss him every day for the rest of our lives because we will never forget and won’t ever get over him. Time does not heal. Time just helps us cope a little bit better. Let all he stood for, his innocence, love of life and music, his good humour and fun, his spontaneity, let all that continue to come to us now. Let us spread it out throughout the rest of Northwood, Kirkby, and Merseyside. Life has changed. It hasn’t ended. Let that change be as best we can make it, supporting one another in our tears and giving one another help and encouragement. Let us put our faith and trust in God and one another. Let this be a beginning.’ 

As agreed, the deeply emotional funeral was broadcast around the world. As for the burial of James’s casket– that was to be their final moment with their boy and Ralph and Denise both established that this was to be completely private. They were joined by a few of their family and a number of officers who had been intimately involved in the case.  


At the time, Denise and Ralph felt that James’s funeral was one of the hardest moments of their lives, the final farewell to the little boy who meant so much to them. Little did they realise the battle that lay ahead.  

How exactly do two ten-year-olds face trial on murder charges? And if found guilty, how do they receive a sentence which is proportionate to the severity of the crime?  

While it was Ralph and Denise who lost their son in brutal and violent circumstances, it soon became clear that the law offered more protection to killers than to victims. From their very first appearance in court, charged with the murder of a 2-year-old boy, injunctions, motions and rulings added layer upon layer of concealment and justification for Robert and Jon’s actions. But a reckoning was coming – how exactly should a modern society deal with child murderers? 

Episode Credits: 

Host – Rhiannon Doe 

Voiceover – Kwesi  

Website layout & design – Fran Howard 

Research & writing – Sophie Wild