1. James Bulger
The murder of two-year old James Bulger in February 1992 was universally hailed as one of the worst crimes in human memory. Not so for the fact a tiny boy had been killed, but more for the fact his killers were only children themselves. Ten year olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables lead James away from his momentarily distracted mother at the new strand shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside. For reasons still unknown today, the two boys took James on a long and traumatic walk covering over 2.5 miles.
During the course of their walk, 38 witnesses saw Robert and Jon dragging a crying toddler along the streets and canals of Liverpool. It was during this time on the canal that they decided to drop little James on his head, causing a massive head injury that witnesses presumed was nothing more than a bump to the head and the little boy was being taken care of by his “big brothers”. Which is the story the child killers stuck to when two bystanders finally tried to intervene. It was then that they knew they needed to get James away from prying eyes.
Eventually making their way to the village of Walton, they dragged James up a steep incline towards Walton and Anfield railway station. It was here that they began to torture their tiny victim. Blue paint, which had been shoplifted earlier in the day, was poured into James’ left eye. They kicked and stomped on him and threw bricks and stones on him. Batteries were places in his mouth. And finally a 22-pound iron bar was dropped on his tiny body. James suffered 42 injuries in total, a pathologist stating none of them could be identified as the final blow. The worst, and probably most horrifying part of James’ torture wasn’t perhaps the injuries inflicted, but more so the manner in which the child killers left him in. They lay his body on the train tracks, awaiting the next train.
Robert and Jon were arrested shortly after the discovery of James’ body. After a lengthy trial they were sentenced to eight years in juvenile prison, after which they were released with new identities. Over the years not much has been noted about Robert Thompson, although there have been whispers that he is now living as a gay man somewhere in the northeast. Jon Venables, however, has been in and out of prison for various sexual assault charges and owning and distributing child porn. His new identity has been changed after revelations compromised his safety. James Bulger’s father is currently campaigning for new laws to stop the protection of murderers under new identities. RIP James.
2. Ella Bennett
Ella Bennett was only four years old where she was mercilessly killed by her thirteen year old brother, Paris. Described as manipulative and narcissistic by his own mother, Charity Lee, Paris was determined to punish her for relapsing into a drug habit when he was twelve years old. On February 5th 2007, Charity left her children in the hands of a babysitter so that she could go to work. But Paris, who had an IQ of 141, convinced her that he was capable to be left in the house alone with his little sister and told the babysitter she could go home.
What he said to the babysitter exactly is not known, but it was enough to convince her to leave the property. What happened next was an unprecedented attack on little Ella, where she was sexually assaulted, beaten, choked and stabbed seventeen times. After which he calmly called a school friend and had a six-minute conversation before dialling 911. The sick and twisted boy even pretended to follow CPR instructions from the call handler.
At 12.30am police attended Buffalo Wings restaurant where Charity was working to tell her that Ella “had been hurt”. Speaking of that night, Charity recalled ‘ that they “told me that my daughter had been hurt. “I was saying, ‘You need to take me to Ella now,’ and they were like, ‘You can’t go … she’s dead’. “That made no sense, because I knew that I’d left her at home with a babysitter and her brother, so I said, ‘Is my son OK? “And they said, ‘We have him.’ … That’s when everything stopped making sense.” ‘ At first, Paris claimed to have suffered a vivid demonic hallucination. But further tests proved that he was of “sound mind” and had made an informed decision on killing his little sister. Paris is currently serving 40 years in prison for murder, where his Mother still visits him regularly in an extraordinary act of forgiveness and motherly kindness. RIP Ella.
3. Judith Barsi
You might recall the name Judith Barsi from film and tv. She leant her voice to the classic dinosaur cartoon “The Land Before Time” and the childhood weepy “All Dogs go to Heaven”. Judith, along with her mother, were both killed in July 1988 as the result of a double murder-suicide. Her Father Joszef Barsi, turned the gun he had used to kill his wife and child upon himself. What lead to this horrific crime was years of tension and jealousy. Maria, Judith’s mother, had been grooming her daughter for stardom since the age of five.
After a succession of commercials and small parts in tv shows, Judith’s star began to rise. But rather than being a proud father, Joszef began to feel isolated and neglected by his family. He became increasingly angry, and so began a catalogue of abuse towards Judith and Maria. His alcoholism worsened, and often threatened to kill little Judith. In December 1986 Maria attempted to report him to the police, but with no obvious proof of abuse no charges were brought. However, little Judith had begun to exhibit some behaviour that said otherwise. She began to gain weight and pull the hair from her eyelashes and the whiskers from her pet cat.
Eventually a child psychologist identified severe emotional and physical abuse and alerted child protection services. Judith was last seen riding her bike on the morning of July 25, 1988. That evening, József shot her in the head while she was sleeping, and then murdered Maria. He spent the next two days wandering around the house, and said during a phone conversation with Judith’s agent the next night that he intended to move out for good, and just needed time to “say goodbye to my little girl.” He then poured gasoline on the bodies and set them on fire. After incinerating the bodies, he went to the garage and shot himself in the head with a .32 caliber pistol. On August 9, 1988, Judith and Maria were interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. RIP Judith.
4. Matthew Shepard
Matthew Wayne “Matt” Shepard was an american student at the university of Wyoming. On the night of October 6th 1998, he was beaten and tortured and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming. The circumstances surrounding Matt’s death became embroiled with words such as “hate crimes” and “Anti-Gay” due to the fact he was an openly gay man. Murderers Aaron McKinney and Russel Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack, and Mckinney’s account of the night stated that they only intended to rob defenceless Matt, but things took a turn for the worse when in a rage he had ended up beating him to death because Matt made a sexual advance towards him.
Mckinney, along with accomplice Henderson, both received life sentences for the murder. The fact all three men had been drinking together all night at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie was not lost upon prosecutors, who said that the attack was premeditated. Instead of giving Matt a ride home after the evening ended, they drove him to a rural area and proceeded to rob, pistol whip and torture Matt. After which they tied him to a fence and left him there.
Reports described how Matt was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially cleansed by his tears. After attacking Matt and leaving him tied to the fence in near-freezing temperatures, McKinney and Henderson returned to town. McKinney proceeded to pick a fight with two Hispanic youths, Emiliano Morales and Jeremy Herrara. The fight led to head wounds for both Morales and McKinney.
Police officer Flint Waters arrived at the scene of the fight. He arrested Henderson, searched McKinney’s truck and found a blood-smeared gun and Matt’s shoes and credit card. Henderson and McKinney later tried to persuade their girlfriends to provide alibis for them and help them dispose of evidence. When Matt’s body was found he was mistaken initially for a scarecrow, by a cyclist who happened to be passing by. Matt was still alive. But he died 18 hours later after being in a coma since the attack. He was twenty-one years old. RIP Matthew.
5. Anita Cobby
One of the most prolific murders in Australian history, is that of Anita Cobby. She was a twenty-six year old registered nurse, who had formerly been crowned Miss Western Suburbs in 1979. On February second 1986, Anita was walking home from Blacktown railway station after dining out with colleagues when she was abducted by five men. John Travers, who had been an alcoholic since the age of fourteen. Michael Murdoch, who was a childhood friend and criminal associate of Travers. And the Murphy brothers, Michael Gary and Les. All from a crime family notorious in New South Wales.
As Anita walked home from the train station, the men pulled up in a car beside her and two of them dragged her inside. Anita was kicking and screaming and was heard by a thirteen year old boy and his mother who lived in the house opposite the station, who ran outside to helplessly watch Anita being driven away. Once inside the car, Anita was ordered to strip. She refused, stating that she was married and also menstruating.
When she did not comply the men punched her in the face, breaking her nose and cheekbones. She was then forced to perform oral sex on all five men. The rape continued for quite some time thereafter, and Travers became concerned that Anita would be able to identify them all after they were done with her. It was decided that she had to die, and so the men slit her throat almost to the point of decapitation.
When Anita did not return home, her family initially thought she was staying overnight with a friend, but after learning that she failed to appear at work the next day, they reported her missing on third of February. On forth of February, her nude body was found in the paddock by the farmer who kept cows there. Her body was initially identified by her distinctive wedding ring, which was still on her finger when she was found. RIP Anita.
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