Letter: Children who kill

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The Independent Online
Sir: Imre Karacs asks if Norway's innocence is lost with the circumstances of the death of Silje Marie Redergaard ('Something died with Silje', 21 October). Unfortunately, such a tragedy could happen in any Western country and that it happened in Norway proves it.

One is inclined to compare little Silje's death with the killing of James Bulger, but look how differently people react.

In Norway there is forgiveness as a first step to understanding. Silje's town of Trondheim may offer places in the local kindergarten to the boys for free, and by this take the boys even closer into care. Norwegian parents realise that their children might bully others. It needs some courage to think like this and then go that way.

And here in our society? The boys are declared evil, pulled in front of a court and imprisoned. Furthermore, the duration of these children's sentences depends on the politics of the day. That is the easy way to deal with such a situation, but if Norway has lost its innocence, Britain will not find its by treating boys in this manner.

Yours sincerely, PATRICK von HEIMENDAHL Downham Market, Norfolk 22 October

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