It is yet another case a dysfunctional family, and the brutalized children going on to subject two other boys to some appalling cruelty.
A British judge sentenced Friday two brothers, all of eleven and ten years, to an indefinite period of detention for torturing two other children. The attackers were placed on the sex offenders register for three years.
AdvertisementThe boys also received 24 months detention for the offences of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and 18 months' detention for robbing the boys.
They were each sentenced to 30 months detention after they admitted causing another 11-year-old actual bodily harm a week before the young boys were attacked.
And it was all gratuitous violence, they had nothing specific against their victim duo, it so happened they caught their eyes at that time.
For about 90 minutes the attackers gave vent to their sick imagination, punching, kicking, throttling the two with cable, cutting with barbed wire, battering with rocks and branches, covering them in burning plastic sheeting, plunging a burning cigarette into an open wound....
They had come across their victims playing on a climbing frame. They both said at the same time 'Do you want to bang them?' - meaning 'batter them' - and immediately said 'jinx,' a children's word for saying the same thing together.
They lured the boys into wooded wasteland and set about assaulting them.
Two brothers tortured and attacked two innocent boys because they were 'bored' and had 'nowt else to do.'
The attackers stopped battering, strangling and violating their victims with an array of weapons only because their arms were 'aching.'
Both told police they would have carried on if they had not been tired.
Asked later how close they had come to killing either boy on a scale of one to ten, the older brother commented: 'Perhaps eight or nine.'
The younger victim, barefoot and covered in blood, limped out of the ravine in Edlington, South Yorkshire, clutching his wounded arm, and came across a man walking his dog.
He was helped to the home of a family he knew, 'shivering, shaking and mumbling'.
His face was so red with blood the adults thought it had been painted.
Police and paramedics were called and a search was launched for the elder victim.
He was found minutes from death. Consultant Robert Primhak, who treated the boy in hospital, said 'he had a life-threatening degree of hypothermia' and the state of his pupils indicated an 'ominous loss of brain stem reflex.'
If he had lain undiscovered for very much longer he could well have died, the Sheffield Crown court was told.
Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, said both victims had made 'good physical recoveries', although they continue to receive counselling for 'post-traumatic stress'.
During the trial, there were also moments of seeming contrition. The younger of the two accused sobbed as details of their own horrific family life were narrated in gruesome detail by defence - as mitigation for their appalling crimes.
They were allowed to watch porn and violent horror movies including Chucky and Saw, and from the age of nine the older brother was smoking cigarettes and cannabis as well as drinking alcohol.
Peter Kelson QC, representing the older brother, said: 'These were gruesome movies in the extreme - that is an influence in this toxic home life.'
Mr Kelson revealed how the children's father repeatedly beat up, burnt and suffocated their mother.
On one occasion he told his partner he would 'take a knife to her and slice her face to bits'.
The father, who was a heavy drinker, would rain blows on the boys if they attempted to step in to protect their mother, the court heard.
The boys would imitate what they had seen at home, assaulting adults and children they came across in their daily life.
On one occasion the older brother was convicted of battery for attacking a mother and threatening to kill her eight-year-old son.
The younger brother was reprimanded for headbutting a 53-year-old male teacher who tried to stop him punching a female teacher.
The brothers, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm, were told they would serve a minimum five years.
Sentencing the brothers, the Mr Justice Keith described their behaviour as "appalling and terrible".
He added: "The fact is this was prolonged, sadistic violence for no reason other than that you got a real kick out of hurting and humiliating them.
He told the boys: 'Neither of you need me to tell you how shocking your attack upon (the first 11-year-old boy) was and how appalling and terrible your treatment of (the two other boys) was.'
He said the risk of harm posed by the two boys was so high that he could not impose determinate sentences.
All sentences will run concurrently.
Media reports said the two attackers were well-known troublemakers and social services were heavily involved in their lives.
A Safeguarding Children Board report found the attack could have been prevented.
Chair of the board, Roger Thompson, said: 'No-one could have predicted the severity of the attack. However, the review has concluded there were serious failings in local services.'
The horrific case is also expected to escalate into a political row today with David Cameron accusing Labour of 'moral failure' for its failure to tackle social breakdown.
Opposition Leader David Cameron asserted that the case in had to be considered as part of what was 'going wrong' in society.