Paedophile admits 'Babes in Wood' murders

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A paedophile today pleaded guilty to the thirty-year-old unsolved murders of "Babes in the Woods" Susan Blatchford and Gary Hanlon.

Ronald Jebson, 61, who has been in prison since 1974 serving a life sentence for the killing of another child, admitted the 1970 killings when he appeared at the Old Bailey.

Playmates Susan, 11, and Gary, 12, disappeared in March 1970 after they left their homes in Enfield, north London, to go for a walk.

Their bodies were found in woods eleven weeks later but experts could not say how they died and an open verdict was recorded at an inquest.

Although some detectives felt the children had died accidentally, their families and legendary Detective Chief Superintendent Leonard "Nipper" Read, were convinced they had been murdered.

Mr Read and the mothers of the dead youngsters were in the crowded court today to hear Jebson at last admit his crimes.

The grey-haired women wept as Jebson said in a clear voice "guilty" when the charges were put to him.

The grey-bearded, balding Jebson, who is also known as Ronald Harper, appeared in the dock in a purple track suit top.

Richard Whittam, prosecuting, said today's hearing had been "brought about by the confession made by this defendant to these offences.

"It is right that this prosecution could not have been brought without these confessions."

He said Jebson had been interviewed at length in 1996 and given extensive details. He was seen again in 1998 and gave differing details which were also investigated.

"There were matters to which he clearly did not tell the truth," said Mr Whittam.

But he said that accounts given by Jebson in the latter part of the investigation and the findings of the pathologist, were not inconsistent with him having committed the offences.

The body of Susan was exhumed as part of the new investigation.