James Bulger / As others see it

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'THEY are only children, but there was nobody to protect their innocence. Evil and barbaric? Certainly, but how much latent evil is there in a world where 10-year-olds are so thrown upon their own resources that they become murderers? In Germany . . . there is a consensus that it would be pure surrender to lock away children for the rest of their childhood and far beyond. In the trial in Preston, the question 'Why?' was hardly asked. The answers would probably be too uncomfortable for a society which still likes to think of itself as a model of fairness, and likes to think that it . . . sets standards for the rest of the world.'

Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany.

'A JURY of citizens, horrified by the kidnap and subsequent death of a baby, has returned a verdict which the majority of the British public demanded: guilty without extenuating circumstances, without taking their age or the social environment in which they were being raised into account.

What else could this jury do? The law in Spain would not even allow the boys to be tried . . .'

El Pais, Spain.

'THE end of the trial is like the end of a nightmare for a society unable to recognise itself in the children who murdered James. Perhaps these two children are the result of some terrible disintegration of (that) society.'

La Stampa, Turin.