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The sentencing of Daniel Bartlam – the Nottingham teenager who bludgeoned his mother to death as she slept – has reignited the debate about whether TV makes kids violence.

The former prep school pupil was obsessed with horror movies and a Coronation Street murder plot. Wanting to commit the “perfect murder”, Bartlam (above), aged just 14, battered Jacqueline, 47, seven times in the head with a lump hammer. He then doused her body with petrol and set fire to it, causing such significant burns, his mother could only be identified by dental records.

Last week, Bartlam, now 16, was jailed for life. On his computer, police found video footage of Corrie killer John Stape, who carried out a similar attack in the TV show, as well as horror movies, such as Saw.

During his trial, the jury was told Bartlam (pictured above) was a “young man who immersed himself in a fantasy world; fantasy worlds he wrote, television drama, films he accessed by the internet and other internet sites”.

As a society, we are outraged every time a child kills their parent, often seeking some sort of explanation by way of justification. Bartlam is a case in point – headlines about
his Corrie obsession screamed from newspapers last week.

However, according to research, it isn’t as straightforward as laying the blame at the door of violent films and TV.

According to psychologist and author of Why Kids Kill Parents, Kathleen M Heide, there are three types of children who murder their parents: the severely abused child, pushed beyond their limit; the severely mentally ill child; and the dangerous antisocial child.

However, she states there still a few children who kill without any remorse, who have loving parents. 

“These are the kids who kill their parents merely for some sort of instrumental, selfish end – never having to ask before borrowing the car again, for instance,” she adds. 

Apparently, sometimes, there is no reason why kids kill.

Derek and Alex King, Florida, US

The trial of Derek and Alex King gripped America in 2001. The brothers were just 12 and 13 respectively when they beat their father to death with a baseball bat as he slept on the sofa. The boys then set fire to their Florida home to conceal the evidence. Neighbour Ricky Chavis, a sex offender, was convicted of being an accessory to the murder. The boys claimed he encouraged them to lie by telling the police their  father had abused them. The brothers were both jailed. The motive for the killing is still unknown.


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Kids who kill - the most infamous cases of children who murdered parents
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