The release of Jamie’s killers has caused a controversy
. The tabloid press, reacting to mass public opinion has criticized the fact that these child murderers
may one day be allowed to “walk free
Shortly after the boys were arrested there was a debate about how they should be tried. A popular slogan was “Adult Crime, Adult Time”, implying that the boys should be tried and sentenced as adults, despite the fact that they were only ten and eleven years old. There really were people who thought these children should be tried in a standard adult Crown Court.
The court was not free of hysteria. At one stage, the prosecution mentioned that the murderers, Thompson and Venables had been fans of violent films - in particular they had been watching "Child's Play 3" the week of the murder.
The prosecution alleged that this film triggered the crime. This theory was dismissed as nonsense by the investigating officer. Althaugh never banned, Blockbuster refused to stock the movie. Sky TV also cancelled a scheduled broadcast.
Then, as today, it was much easier to blame violent movies than it was to solve the problems of negligent parenting, social exclusion and poverty.
I was listening to a talk show on Radio 5 this morning ( 9th January 2001 ), these were the sort of comments I heard:
“Forget human rights! Jamie didn’t have any rights when he was brutally murderd”.
“How dare the state give these murderers all that care an holidays when I cant even afford that for my own kids!”
“Thankfully we live in forgiving country that does not condemn people for tragic mistakes they made when they were kids”
Since their arrest in 1993 the murderers have been in psychiatric hospitals and juvenile correctional facilities. Although many years have passed since the incident – public sentiment is still strong. This has been roused by the news that the killers who are now young adults are soon to be free.