When the teenager raised his hand to strike a woman over the head with a claw hammer several times, his fantasy life had finally become reality.It’s a disturbing case, for all sorts of reasons:
He had already written a story in which he played the main character – someone who got away with rape and murder. In the story, he described the character murdering a woman with a hammer, and then setting the house on fire.
And in real life he, too, set the body of his victim alight in her bedroom.
The boy, who cannot be named, was found guilty of murder at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday.Can’t be named. Sound familiar? It seems that nor can the victim, referred to in all reports as ‘the woman’.
I suspect, however, that she might have been a relative. No weeping mother has been interviewed, so perhaps the young master should have picked old Norm to idolise instead?
… forensic examinations of his computer also found footage of violent scenes from Trial and Retribution, EastEnders, Hollyoaks, and Coronation Street – the latter including the scene where the character John Stape kills a woman with a hammer.Now, that’s just pathetic.
As, indeed, appears to have been the state’s response to the level of threat he posed:
The social worker wrote: "The voice tells him to hurt people and instead he hurts himself or inanimate objects."Boy, is her face red! Or maybe not…
After their conversations, the boy went for a mental health assessment six weeks before the killing.
The assessment concluded that he showed no signs of being mentally ill and it was recommended he be supported through the established counselling relationship.
The social worker spoke to the boy about his thoughts and feelings up to ten days before the alleged murder.
In a statement she described him as articulate, in touch with his feelings and a good communicator.
"We think he thought he could commit the perfect murder and get away with it," said DCI Meynell. "I think it's a horrific crime both as a police officer and personally. It's shocking.Really? It’s rare, yes, but that would, surely, make it more memorable, you’d think…
"The level of violence, the degree of planning and the extent of his lies is not only shocking but it's also chilling that a boy could do this.
"I've never dealt with something like this and I'm not aware of any other case in this country."
I’m not quite sure who thought of approaching the TV companies for a statement, or why, but of course, they felt compelled to give one:
An ITV spokesperson said: "ITV takes careful steps to ensure that pre-watershed drama is appropriate for a family audience, and the Stape murder scenes in Coronation Street were fully compliant. "With regards to Trial and Retribution, this is a matter for parents as it is a post-watershed programme and aimed at an adult audience."No-one’s blaming you. Well, no-one who doesn’t want to deflect blame from themselves, anyway…