Boy, 10, says he never hit' James

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NAIVETE and repeated denials of guilt ran through the account given to police by a 10- year-old boy arrested for involvement in the killing of James Bulger, Preston Crown Court heard yesterday, writes Jonathan Foster.

After 10 interviews over three days, the boy admitted a passive role on the railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where the prosecution alleges that James, aged two, was stoned to death by two 10-year- olds after they abducted him from a shopping centre.

Boy A, who may not be identified for legal reasons, claimed that Boy B was responsible for striking James with bricks and an iron bar. Both deny the abduction and murder of James and attempted abduction of another child.

'I never touched him, except for picking him up . . . and seeing if he was breathing,' Boy A told police in a tape-recorded interview played to the jury.

'I know I never hit him, so I've got nothing to bother about.' Instead, it had been Boy B who 'had a smirk on his face' as James lay across a rail, apparently not breathing.

He tried to move James, but blood was pouring from a head wound, and he did not want to be covered. 'Blood stains, doesn't it, and then me mother would have to pay more money,' he said.

The police told him that James's body had been taken to hospital. Tests would be carried out, and blood had been found on Boy A's shoe.

Gradually, Boy A told police how James had been hit in the face by the first brick, in the belly by the second and struck over the head by the iron bar.

The trial was adjourned until today.