City attempts to cope with frustration and fury: Flowers and simple messages reflect the emotions felt by the people on Merseyside. Ian MacKinnon reports.

MOST just stumbled away quietly yesterday. A few turned and wanted to vent their rage after reading the cards taped to the growing number of bouquets and soft toys at the entrance to the shopping centre from where James Bulger was snatched.

Others chatted in hushed tones to police who manned every entrance to the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, hoping that the new, enhanced pictures issued yesterday of the two abductors would jog the memories of shoppers.

The official version of the poster bears the legend: 'Merseyside Police', with the question 'Have you seen these boys?' It has four large colour photographs, one of James in his Teenage Mutant Hero T-shirt, with ice-cream plastered around his mouth. The other pictures show the two boys leading the two-year- old away, with enlarged pictures of their faces.

But in a reflection of the mood of anxiety that has gripped the city, officers have added to some of the posters the plainer directions: 'Cop shop Bootle Strand, opposite Caesars first floor' so that no one is any doubt where to go if they have any relevant information. The police are not proud when there is a child killer on the loose and help from the public is their best chance.

Officers, clutching their blue clipboards, said they had been overwhelmed by the public response. Inside the shopping centre mothers and fathers passed the scores of bouquets and flowers.

In the featureless concrete centre bounded by railway lines and high-rise flats, they clung firmly to the forearms of screaming and reluctant small children, fearful to let go for a moment.

One mother of a boy and girl, aged one and four, who was standing beneath the video camera that captured James's abduction, said: 'I wouldn't dream of leaving them outside a shop for a minute. I was just looking at the flowers and I had to walk away. I was nearly in tears. It affects us all because it's so close, and the poor woman has only got one kid.'

Some of the cards pinned to the flowers bore only simple messages. 'Rest in peace Jamie, from a Mummy and Daddy', or 'Good night and God bless, from a Bootle family'.

Others illustrated the feelings that have crossed the minds of every parent in the country. 'There but for the grace of God, RIP baby James', while another put the poignant question that seems to be on the lips of everyone in the city: 'Why and who?'

Pushing her 14-month-old grand-daughter through the doors of the centre, Veronica Caffrey, 50, echoed the sentiments. 'I was broken-hearted. I couldn't believe that anyone could do that to a little child. They must be evil to do something like that.

'Everybody in the city feels the same about the tragedy. It's more than anger. You would just like to get your hands on them. To be honest, I would bloody hang them. It's not human to do what they did.'

Her feelings of outrage were mirrored in the outbreak of trouble on Tuesday evening, as people took to the streets when a boy was arrested in connection with the murder.

Neighbours surrounded his two-storey red-brick Victorian terraced house in the Kirkdale area of the city, about a mile from Bootle, where James was abducted. In the Strand, people were able to understand the fury which led to the trouble, which stemmed from the feelings of frustration that someone must know who the abductors are.

'If it was my boy, I would know him from those pictures,' said a policeman, ruefully.

Patricia Yunge, 45, said: 'Someone must be covering up for them. Let's just hope, when they're caught, that the family leaves Liverpool. I do not think the family who harboured these children could live in this city any more. The whole thing is sick.'

PC Mandy Waller, who broke the news of James's death to his parents, Ralph, 26, and Denise, 25, said: 'The family are devastated. They are just trying to keep themselves together. Denise is totally shell-shocked.'

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week