People living on the estate where the two young brothers were brought up described how the boys and their family terrorised their neighbours with senseless vandalism and sporadic violence.
But even those residents who suffered from their anti-social behaviour said the 10-year-old and the 11-year-old "did not stand a chance" given their upbringing.
And most were shocked and surprised by the scale of violence the brothers inflicted on their two young victims, despite their behaviour in their community.
Until a few weeks before they were arrested, the boys lived with their mother and other siblings in a tatty semi on a quiet council estate in a different part of Doncaster from where the horror attack took place.
They lived there for about eight years until they were moved into foster care in Edlington about a month before they attacked the youngsters.
The rest of the brothers' natural family moved out, accompanied by a fleet of council and police vehicles, on the day the brothers first appeared in court.
Neighbours said they felt like celebrating as the clan left their dilapidated home, shouting abuse as they departed.
One man with a young family said: "I think everyone is so pleased they've gone they're thinking of holding a street party. I can put my car out now without fear it will be wrecked. I can let my kids out to play now."
Like many others living nearby, he did not want to be named as he talked about frequent damage to cars, stones thrown at windows and buses, and constant noise and abuse with police visiting the family's home "two or three times a week".
Others in the community spoke of random acts of violence, including one incident when one of the brothers attacked an 11-year-old girl with a baseball bat.
Magistrates at an early court appearance heard how the 11-year-old brother has already appeared in court on four separate occasions for "acts of violence", the last being in January when he received a 12-month supervision order for an offence of battery.
The 10-year-old had been reprimanded for violence, including offences of causing actual bodily harm and common assault.
At the time of the Edlington horror he was on bail facing two charges of causing actual bodily harm and one of burglary.
The hearing heard both boys were on the child protection register.
They were also expelled from their local primary school and were being taught at a Pupil Referral Unit.
The area where they lived is not a stereotypical benefit-dependant sink estate. Most of the households appear to be normal working families.
But the brothers' family home stuck out with its piles of discarded, smashed up equipment and remains of bonfires in the back yard.
A "beware of the kids" sign was hung by the front door.
The boys' 36-year-old mother has seven sons aged between eight and 18-years-old.
Her partner of many years lived with them until a short time before the two boys were put into foster care. Those who knew the family talked about their chaotic alcohol and cannabis-fuelled lifestyle.
One woman who's known the boys' mother since she was a teenager said her constant cannabis smoking deeply affected her life.
"I think that's why she just doesn't give a s***," she said.
But many who knew the family felt it was the mother's partner who was the real problem.
Neighbours described him as a "violent drunk" and laughed when asked what he did for a living.
A woman said: "His life was drink, drink, drink, go out, come back, kick off, beat the kids, drink, drink, drink."
Other people said the brothers often appeared to live a scavenging existence in the area.
"She never cooked a meal for them," one neighbour said. "They just scavenged for food or just ate fish and chips and stuff."
A teenager said: "Everyday I saw them they were scruffier. Their fingernails were always black. Their shoes were too big for them. They used to scavenge trainers and tracky bottoms from skips.
"When it rained they'd just go to a sports shop and steal umbrellas. That's the way they lived."
But one person living on the estate who had suffered constant problem with the brothers conceded: "All they wanted was a bit of sympathy - a bit of love from their parents. For them to get into trouble they were getting attention from their parents."
She said the younger of the two brothers "was crying out for attention - some kind of love and emotion he never got.
"Knowing them, I can totally understand how they've done this to those kids."
One woman said she had repeatedly pleaded with the local council and police for something to be done.
"If social services had acted sooner maybe those kids wouldn't have been fighting for their lives and whatever," she said.
"It got to a stage where people are going out with bats to resolve things for themselves.
"I must have been phoning them for the last 18 months,"
But a friend of the boys' mother said the neighbours had twisted the blame round the wrong way and insisted her friend just could not cope.
"If social services had got off their arses and done something none of this would have happened," she said. She said her friend accepted "her kids were wild" but she insisted she was a good mum.Reuse content