Tape-recordings of the boys' interviews with police were played to the jury trying two 11- year-olds for the abduction and murder of James on 12 February.
Boys A and B, who may not be legally identified, plead not guilty to the charges, and the attempted abduction of another child.
Boy A began his second interview denying that the pair had had more than a brief sighting of James and his mother at the Strand shopping centre, Bootle, Merseyside.
Then he started to shift his ground. It was B who said to James: 'Come here,' and it was B who grabbed his hand. They left the child at a church, and they were never at a reservoir where a woman had told police she had seen two boys with a young child.
'I'm getting all the blame . . . with you we always get the blame,' A told detectives.
'I'm going to get all the blame . . . for murdering him, but we left him by the church.'
In his third interview, A said lots of people at his school wore coats like his and B's. Even if police had a statement from the woman, 'You might have just writ that down'.
There were tears in his eyes when he let out fragments of the truth, one detective said. And A admitted they had been up on the reservoir, that James was 'crying for his mum' and that he had a graze on his head.
But he claimed they were going to try to find James's mother and they left him on the reservoir hill.
'A won't tell you that he took the baby out of the Strand because he knows that he'll get into trouble by his dad.'
A was not going to carry James to the police station because a girl at his school would see him and 'spread to everyone that we found a little boy while we was sagging (truanting)', boy B said.
He was asked about paint. His mother was painting the house, he said.
Boy A spent the night of 18 February in custody. In his fourth interview, recorded the following morning, he admitted: 'We went to the Strand and we picked little James up.'
They left him by the railway. The prosecution claims A and B stoned James to death on a railway line at Walton, Liverpool.
'We never killed him,' A said. As for the paint, B may have taken it. Yes, they did have paint. B stole it. 'Threw it in baby James's eye . . . he could have blinded him.'
And it was B who took James's anorak hood and left it in a tree. A was sobbing. 'Why can't I go home with my mum . . . I don't want to sleep here again.'
The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.Reuse content