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Children of Misfortune: Parallels in the Cases of Child Murderers Thompson and Venables, Barratt and Bradley

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Abstract:

Abstract

Were Victorian attitudes towards child murderers harsher than those now? Theparallel cases of the notorious Bulger and Burgess murders, 1993 and 1861,demonstrate any such assumption is simplistic. Reactions from the public and legalsystem to these disturbingly similar murderers are explored, including significantlydiffering responses to the trial reportage, pointing up the debate over ‘fair’ trials and themedia's role in that process. Though newspapers present such subject matter‘sensationally’, contextual examination of the coverage demonstrates they are reactingto, not creating, public reactions. Differences in public attitudes between the two arehighlighted, suggesting disquieting reasons for modern responses.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2311.00270

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer in History 2: Senior Lecturer in Law 3: PhD student, Nottingham Trent University

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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