The 10-year-old boy, named only as 'T', spoke of the killing in an interview with the weekly Journal du Dimanche yesterday. He said the victim was 'drunk as usual' when he told two other tramps he was responsible for a fire that burned down their makeshift hut, prompting the fight which led to his death.
T has been charged, together with two other boys aged eight and nine, with manslaughter for the killing in Vitry-sur- Seine south of Paris.
The crime, which occurred on 29 October, came to light only on Friday. Police and magistrates had decided not to publicise the affair while the trial of the two 11-year-old killers of James Bulger was in progress in Preston. The boys have been allowed to stay with their families since the assault.
According to T, the tramp, named as Pierrot, told two other tramps, Jean-Marc and Jacquot, that he had burnt their hut, prompting Jean- Marc, who has also been charged with manslaughter, to hit him. Pierrot fell to the ground. 'His head hit a stone, there was blood,' T said. 'Jean-Marc told us to hit him so we started.' Police said the boys visited the tramps regularly to run errands for them. Police said the boys kicked the tramp and beat him with sticks. 'We kept going,' said T. 'I don't really know why.'
The boy said that he was aware that he was doing something wrong. 'I told myself 'this isn't right, I'm doing something silly',' he said. The boy said that, at Jean-Marc's urging, they stripped Pierrot and dropped him into a well. T said he then went home and watched television. 'I like action films and films which make you scared. My favourite heroes are Bruce Lee, Jean- Claude Van Damme and Rocky,' he said.
His mother, also present at the interview, said her companion, who she said had left their home in August, was used to hitting T and herself. 'My son has always received blows and seen me get them,' she said. 'That's perhaps why he didn't react when he was told to start hitting.'Reuse content