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Letter from the i editor: The tragic waste of two young lives

We can become inured to the daily diet of misery that passes before our eyes at i: on the news editors’ daily lists, the wires, and even the 24/7 news channels. But some stories still break through the white noise to stop us in our tracks.

One such was listed in every newsroom’s conference yesterday as “teenage breakfast dare murderer jailed”. In Swansea, 16-year-old Joshua Davies lured his 15 year-old ex-girlfriend Rebecca Aylward to woods where he beat her to death with a huge rock and left her body face down in the rain while he went to tell his “mate” who had offered him a free breakfast if he dared do it.

Why this story in particular? Perhaps it’s because I have two teenage daughters? Maybe, it’s the banality of the dare juxtaposed with the brutality of the deed? Or was it the courage of Rebecca’s mother speaking outside the courtroom where an unrepentant Davies had been giving an indefinite sentence (minimum 14 years)?

For me, it’s the sheer futility of the act, the tragic waste of two young lives, both victim and killer, and the destruction of the lives of their respective families, now forever entwined in tragedy where they were once brought together through friendship. I can only marvel at the Aylward family’s courageous interview outside court after the verdict. How do they come to terms with what happened? That the boy they welcomed into their home often plotted such horror against them? The fact that other children apparently knew of Davies’ plan in advance but said nothing? That he was, as the judge said, “egged on”? So many unanswered questions.

Please spare the Aylwards a thought as you go about your normal weekend routine. No weekend will ever be normal for them again.

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