Letter: The Bulger killing: Church teachingson evil; fears of the British public; family failings

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The Independent Online
Sir: When I read the words of Robert Thompson, quoted by Bryan Appleyard, 'If I had wanted to kill a little boy, I could have killed my brother,' I remembered a story my aunt, now in her eighties, told me about her childhood in rural Wales.

It was 1916. My father, the youngest of the eight children, was two years old, and she and another brother had been told that they were to look after the toddler and take him out to the fields to play with them. They didn't want the responsibility, and when the little boy became tired and fractious and a considerable burden to them, they had an idea. They would drown him in the stream. He was already blue when a passer-by saw them and hauled them back to their house.

The tragic children who have enacted this primitive evil impulse in our own time were possessed by a far greater violence, picked their innocent little victim at random, and none of us hauled them off.

Yours sincerely,

CAROLYN JOHNSON

Clifton, Bristol

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