The two-year-old boy was stoned to death in a protracted, painful ordeal. Lying around his body were 25 bricks, some of which were blood-stained. Near by, police found the steel bar used by two ten- year-old boys to knock their two-year-old victim unconscious, the court heard. The boys struck him with bricks and left his body draped across a railway line in Walton, Liverpool, said Richard Henriques QC, for the prosecution.
In their final statements, the boys blamed each other for the worst violence; both, now aged 11, deny the abduction and murder of James Bulger, and one other charge of abduction.
Child A sat impassively as Mr Henriques outlined the interviews which began on 18 February, six days after James disappeared from his mother's side at Bootle's Strand shopping centre. At first, A admitted only truancy. Then he said James had been adbucted by his companion and later abandoned. And it was A's friend who had struck James, had thrown paint in his eyes and 'hit him in sly'.
Mr Henriques read out A's increasingly graphic accounts of the killing. He told the police it was not him who threw the first brick in James's face, or the next, the one which started the child's face bleeding. He was trying to stop the attack, but his friend hit James in the face with a metal bar.
James fell. 'I got my ear against his belly and he wasn't breathing,' A told police, Mr Henriques said. Finally, A said he tried to move James off the rail, stop him getting chopped in half, but there was too much blood. 'Blood stains, doesn't it? And my mum would have to pay,' A said.
Police heard a fuller confession from boy B. He also admitted only truancy. But then he began to blame A for stealing paint, for trying to abduct another child, for suggesting they 'got James lost' and for leading the crying infant across two and a half miles of canal tow path, streets and a reservoir until they arrived at the railway.
Boy B's mother was with him in the early interviews, Mr Henriques said. As his story unfolded, she asked him: 'Is that the God's honest truth, son?' By then he was distressed and wanted to be alone with his mother. Police agreed, and later, with his father present, he said he did kill James.
It was still mostly A's fault, but they had both carried James up on to the track. 'We started throwing bricks at him,' B said during an interview. 'A big steel pole knocked him out. He just kept getting up again. He wouldn't stay down.'
Boy B sobbed through much of Mr Henriques' address to the jury. He clasped tissues in his fists and kept looking anxiously sideways to where his parents sat in a pew below the dock.
They did not return his wide-eyed looks. Their heads remained bowed, and they too cried as Mr Henriques said their son claimed only to have thrown little stones, aiming to miss James, and kicked him and punched him only lightly. It was A who stripped James naked from the waist down and pulled his bloodstained underpants on to his head.
Before they ran off, B told police, the pair had tried to cover James's face with bricks. The child was still moving.
The case continues today.
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