Edlington Devil Boys: Meeting The Mum For Sex And Drugs
THE Edlington “Devil Boys” are making front-page news in the Mail. Names have been kept hidden from the great unwashed to protect the victims and the guilty – although how long before the web gets hold of them?
But still the Mail screams:
NAME THE DEVIL BOYS – WE MUST NOT LET THEM HIDE
Exclusive: Parents of tortured boys describe their terrible ordeal… and call for the attackers to be treated like the killers of James Bulger
It’s an exclusive. Or as the Daily Mirror says:
Tortured boys fear their tormentors will ‘finish them off’ when they get out – EXCLUSIVE
Back in the Mail:
Jamie Bulger died. The toddler was tortured and murdered by children Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. An horrific crime. A rare crime. The Mail says:
The stark brutality of the case, which left the victims bloodied beyond recognition and on the verge of death, is the worst this country has known since the murder of James Bulger.
So what of Baby P? The Mail has already moved on:
The father of one of the victims said: “They should never be allowed to hide from what they’ve done. I believe they could do this again so people should know exactly who they are. I understand they won’t be released until the authorities believe they have been rehabilitated – but they’re evil. People should have the right to know if there are people like that living anywhere near them.’
Yesterday the papers were telling us how the brothers will be in jail for “JUST” five years. But the parents recognise the truth that it may well be far longer. But what of naming them? If the victims want it, then why not?
The Mail almost breaks the embargo by showing one victim’s parents from the back.
Last week, the parents unsuccessfully asked Mr Justice Keith to lift the Section 39 order under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 which forbids the boys from being identified.
But let’s piece together the Mail’s clues:
His parents are in their 40s, friendly and down-to-earth. His father is a builder and his mother a carer for the elderly…
The parents of Michael’s best friend James are in their late 20s and softly spoken. His father is a forklift truck driver and his mother is a housewife.
Michael and James are not the boy’s real names – which might help you narrow it down a bit. The guilty brother are not surnamed Devil – that’s just a tabloid creation to make them sound less real, like cartoon characters.
Readers then hear the parents’ pain. And it is all too real. But what good in us knowing? Anyone sane can imagine the horror. And then the Mail does it again – tells us the lurid detail of the crimes. But we don’t need to hear it in full. The words can be taken in isolation to add to the sense of horror:
“…throttled… barbed wire… punched… battered… bricks… nettles… glass… sex acts… set alight… smashed… lit cigarette… open wound… urinate… mobile phone.”
Revolting. Does it get more so by repetition, or does it become titillating, seductive, tapping into a perverted enjoyment in suffering?
As for naming the Devil Boys:
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, both 11 at the time of their convictions, were identified and police photographs were issued. However, in the latest case in Edlington, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, the judge ruled the two brothers could be harmed in custody if they were identified. He said their rehabilitation might ‘not progress’ if their names were released.
The Irish Independent hears the words for the victims’ parents from Mr Justice Keith:
“I have no doubt that (you) would have preferred to see them locked up for very much longer . . . but I hope (you) will appreciate that five years is the very least they will serve. They may well be in detention for much longer than that.”
And if you want to blame anyone, the Mail has few words on that:
Many who read the account of the suffering of the victims and their families will long to see somebody severely punished. But who? The culprits are children themselves. What about the parents? Perhaps most important, what about the State?
The Sunday People prefers just to blame the Devil Boys’ mother:
The uncle of the devil brothers caged for torturing two little boys has revealed their mum’s three driving passions – sex, booze and drugs. He said she had a string of sordid affairs after kicking out her sons’ alcoholic father. And he told how she greeted lovers at her doorstep with a bottle of cheap wine and a joint.
“Their mum should take the blame. She kicked out their dad to live in a damp caravan while she had affairs with she had affairs with whoever took her fancy… He warned social services about his boys and all this cr*p about him being a violent drunk is rubbish.”
The boys’ grandma chips in – she “fostered 400 troubled kids over 20 years”:
“It happened the day after I buried my husband so I’ll never ever forget it. I want no more to do with my grandchildren – they should be jailed for life. I’ll go to my grave never being able to forgive them.”
But don’t blame the boys. In the Mirror, Jane McCartney says:
They would not have thought it was wrong
Child attackers aren’t born evil, pathological monsters.
Fact. Any proof?
But the Edlington brothers, like many of the most disturbed children I have seen, were born into a world of violence which set them on a path to evil. From a young age they will have witnessed domestic violence, drunken arguments and severe physical and sexual abuse. And violence breeds violence.
Does it? Is it the equation that easy? What kind of violence, then? Violence on the nightly news? Reading about lunatic children in the papers? The witnesses and victims of violence always becomes violent?
That is a nonsense. But media needs to talk about and talk up the Edlington brothers, who now have pet names – Devil Boys – and crimes we can study in lurid detail. If the media wants to be useful, it can expose the next rotten borough – after Doncaster and Haringey – before and not after the event…