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Teen jailed for life after killing mother in Coronation Street inspired hammer attack


John Hall
Monday 02 April 2012 19:24 BST

A teenager has been jailed for life for beating his mother to death with a hammer then setting light to her body in a “chilling” murder inspired by a Coronation Street storyline.

Daniel Bartlam, who was 14 at the time of the murder, struck his mother Jacqueline seven times with a claw hammer after becoming obsessed with John Stape - a soap opera character who killed a woman in a similar manner.

After the hammer attack, Bartlam poured petrol around the bedroom in which his mother had been sleeping then her body alight. Her body was so badly burned that investigators could only identify her remains from dental records.

After his arrest, officers found a deleted story about a character called Daniel Bartlam who killed his mother in the exact manner Jacqueline was killed. Activity on YouTube showed the teenager had watched clips from various soaps, as well as the horror film Saw, in the hours leading up to the murder.

Bartlam originally lied to police, telling officers that a burglar had broken in and killed his mother on Easter Monday 2011.

The teenager, from Redhill, Nottinghamshire, then claimed it was manslaughter, because he had simply lost his self-control, but a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder in February.

At Nottingham Crown Court today, Bartlam was detained for life and told he must serve a minimum of 16 years for a murder the judge described as the "grotesque" and "senseless”.

Judge Mr Julian Justice Flaux told the teenager it seemed like he wanted to get away with the "perfect murder".

After sentencing, lead investigator DCI Kate Meynall of Nottinghamshire Police called it a "shocking" and "chilling" case.

DCI Meynall added: "I have personally never dealt with something like this, and as a police officer this was an extremely shocking case, but the biggest impact has of course been on Jacqueline's family.

"The level of violence, degree of planning and extent of his lies is not only shocking, but it is also chilling that a boy of 14 could do this."

She added: "There is only one person who knows why it happened, and Daniel has lied consistently throughout, making attempts to besmirch Jacqueline's character. Everyone who knew her knew she lived for her children and was a warm, loving mother.

"Maybe one day Daniel will tell the truth, as there are several gaps that only he can fill."

In a statement, Mrs Bartlam's parents described their daughter as a "loving" and "caring" mother who would have done anything for her family.

They said: "Daniel attempted to make out during the trial that Jacqui was a bad mother, which couldn't be further from the truth. She loved her boys and would do anything for them.

"We are a very close family and it is hard to know how to deal with something like this. Twelve years ago we lost the youngest of our daughters and our eldest grandson in a car crash, and to have to go through this twice hurts more than words can say.

"We find it so hard to explain what we are going through. There are no winners here because not only have we lost Jacqui, but we have lost Daniel too because of what he's done.

"We know it was the right result at court but trying to understand how a boy you have loved for 14 years can do something like this is so difficult.

"To find out that Daniel planned to kill his own mother and then hear all the details, it is all so hard to believe. The most difficult part for us and something that only Daniel can answer is 'why?"'

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