Bulger jury told of boys' nightmares

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The Independent Online
ONE OF James Bulger's alleged murderers is so distressed by the two-year- old's death that he cannot talk about the events for which he is on trial, a forensic pyschiatrist told Preston Crown Court yesterday.

Boy B suffers constantly from nightmares. He has been upset by 'the circumstances of his detention' since his arrest, in February, when he was 10. He was unable to talk about the killing in any useful way, Dr Susan Bailey told the jury trying two boys accused of James's abduction and murder on 12 February.

Boy B consented to several meetings with Dr Bailey, who saw him on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service. She said he possessed average intelligence. He would have known in February that it was wrong to take a child from its mother. He would have known it was wrong to injure a child, or to leave an injured child on a railway line, she said.

The prosecution claims boys A and B, took James from his mother's side during a shopping trip in Bootle, and later stoned him to death on a railway line two and a half miles away at Walton, Liverpool. Both boys deny the charges, and the attempted abduction of another child.

Questioned by Brian Walsh QC, for Boy B, Dr Bailey confirmed that B had 'burst into tears and cried inconsolably' on each occasion when asked about the Bulger killing. He showed obvious signs of distress. B was unable to communicate in any detail about the charges he was facing.

In trials of children aged under 14 the prosecution must prove the accused knew the difference between right and seriously wrong.

Dr Eileen Vizard, a psychiatrist who interviewed Boy A on behalf of his solicitors, said he knew the difference between right and wrong. He too knew in February that it was wrong to abduct a child, injure him and leave him on a railway line. Two teachers who formerly taught boys A and B also gave evidence that the boys knew the difference between right and wrong, and that it was wrong to strike a small child with a brick.

Dr Vizard said that Boy A, whose mother was in court for the first time yesterday, showed symptoms of post- traumatic stress. He had suffered since his arrest from his detention in a secure environment.

She said he was preoccupied constantly with the Bulger crime, suffering nightmares and flashbacks to the scene of James's death. She thought A was fit to stand trial, and had no mental abnormality at the time of the alleged murder. But his stress disorder could impair his ability to understand procedures at the trial.

The trial continues today.