20. Good Boys Gone Bad
We’ve all heard the phrase, “boys will be boys” in reference to young boys getting into trouble. While kids often get into mischief from time-to-time, they’re usually still good kids. However, what happens when the child is actually rotten to the core?
When these two boys skipped class one day, they would show the world what it was like to stare into the faces of pure evil…
19. Playing Hooky at the Mall
It was a cold Friday afternoon at the Strand shopping center in Liverpool. The shopping center was bustling with shoppers yet something was amiss. Two ten-year-old boys playing hooky from school seemed to continue to draw attention to themselves.
How did they manage to get out of school for the day?
18. Shoplifting Throughout the Day
The two boys were the perfect definition of “good boys gone bad.” Throughout the day they shoplifted from multiple stores with batteries and some paint being a bulk of their loot.
While on the surface it seemed like two young boys getting into trouble…the truth was much more sinister.
17. A Fun Day with Mom
Meanwhile, on the other side of the shopping center, Denise a young mother and her 2-year-old son James were spending the day shopping with her brother’s fiancé and child. With two children and lot’s of shopping to do, Denise found it difficult to watch James at every moment. Even worse, James was beginning to get restless running from store-to-store.
Unbeknownst to both of them, they were being watched from a distance.
16. Watching from a Distance
As Denise spoke with a butcher in an effort to purchase a cut of beef for her husband’s dinner, she had no idea that her son James had caught the attention of the two boys in the mall. They watched as James walked around, trailing his mother. Realizing Denise was distracted, the boys decided to approach the young James.
15. In a Blink of An Eye
The two boys stealthily approached James while Denise had her back turned. They began to chat with him gaining his trust enough for them to lead him by the hand out of the store.
It took only a moment and he was gone. When Denise turned around, her son was nowhere in sight.
14. A Walk to the Liverpool Canal
The two 10-year-old boys, identified as Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, took the young James on a 2.5-mile walk from Liverpool to Leeds and then to the Liverpool Canal. Despite a good amount of people noticing the boys, no one thought anything was wrong. To the innocent observer, it seemed like three young boys out for an innocent stroll.
Unfortunately, things were about to take a very dark turn.
13. Terrifying the Young James
The boys began to taunt James when they reached the edge of the canal. They threatened to throw him into the water so he would drown. One of the boys then picked the poor innocent James up and slammed him into the ground head first, injuring him in the process.
As a lump began to form on James’ head, the boys decided to take the abuse one step further.
12. Two Options Available
By this time little James was crying uncontrollably. Some bystanders took notice but both Robert and Jon were able to shoo them off with a lie. At first, the boys took James by a police station and actually discussed leaving him there. However, they decided against it and led the injured James to a nearby railway station.
What happens next is so horrific, you might not be able to stomach it.
11. A Scary Game of Torture
After the boys reached the railroad tracks, they forced James to strip naked. They then splashed the paint they had stolen into his eyes and forced him to choke on some batteries as well. At this point, James was hysterical and Robert and Jon knew they had to shut him up.
Their next decision would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
10. Brutality Like No Other
Displaying a level of brutality almost unheard of for boys their age, the boys kicked, hit and stomped on the defenseless James. They hurled rocks and bricks at the little boy and then found a 22-lb railway fishplate.
What happens next is chilling.
9. Killing James and Trying to Cover It Up
The boys raised the fishplate over James’ head and let go. The impact from the fishplate cracked the little boy’s skull in over ten places, killing him instantly. Robert and Jon then weighed down the boy’s body on the railroad tracks, hoping a train would come and make the murder look like an accident.
Unfortunately for them, this was only the beginning of their problems.
8. The Broken Doll on the Tracks
At first, it seemed Robert and Jon’s plan worked. James’s body was struck by a train and split in two. Two days after his murder, a group of young boys would wander upon the body, thinking it was a broken doll. When they realized it was a corpse, they immediately rushed to the nearby police station.
Would justice be found for little James?
7. The Autopsy Reveals All
The police immediately launched an investigation into the unprecedented murder of James, performing an autopsy that revealed he had died before being struck by a train. This was due to the fact that James’ body had over 42 injuries in total. In fact, his body was so badly damaged there wasn’t one injury that could have been determined as the fatal blow.
6. Damning Footage Found
Thankfully, the police had plenty of evidence to provide leads in James’ case. The security footage at the Strand shopping center was the most damning and revealed that two young boys had taken James from the shopping center. The police were completely shocked, revealing that the brutal extent of the injuries would have never led them to guess it was a child who had inflicted them.
With the footage of the boys found, the police were one step away from finding out their identities.
5. Found and Arrested
The police released the images of Robert and Jon on national television, which led one woman to identify Jon. She knew he had been playing hooky from school that day and quickly contacted the police.
It wouldn’t take long for the boys to be swiftly arrested.
4. No Mercy for Youth
Even though both Robert and Jon were only ten-years-old, the horrific nature of their crime led the court to try them as adults. With all of the evidence piled against them, the boys were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, although they would have possibility for parole at the age of 18.
3. Released with New Identities
Unfortunately for James’ family and his mother Denise, both Jon and Robert were granted parole 8 years later. Due to the high risk of retaliation against them both, the now young men were given new identifies.
It seems totally unfair, right?
2. Back in Prison
Over the years, Jon would commit several more crimes involving children that would land him back behind bars. The whereabouts of Robert are unknown due to the witness protection program he was enrolled in.
1. Gone Too Soon
It seems so unfair that little James lost his life so soon, especially at the hands of two young bullies who should have been in school. We can only take solace in the fact justice was indeed served, although it will never bring Denise her little boy back.