A teenager who beat his mother to death with a hammer and burned her body in a “chilling” murder inspired by a Coronation Street plot has been jailed for at least 16 years.
Daniel Bartlam, who was 14 at the time, initially told police his mother, Jacqueline, had been killed by an intruder at their home in Redhill, Nottingham, on 25 April last year.He then changed his story, claiming he had killed her after losing control following an argument. But after examining his computer, detectives recovered a deleted story in which a character called Daniel Bartlam killed his mother in the same circumstances.Nottingham crown court heard the teenager had been inspired by a plot in Coronation Street in which one of the characters, John Stape, killed a woman with a hammer.
Bartlam denied murder, claiming he had been provoked. He was unanimously convicted by a jury in February, and on Monday the judge, Mr Justice Julian Flaux, lifted reporting restrictions to allow the media to name Bartlam.Jurors had heard how the boy hit his mother seven times with a claw hammer before pouring petrol around her bedroom, placing newspaper on a gas fire and setting the home alight. His mother’s body was identified by her dental records.Sentencing Bartlam to life imprisonment, the judge set a minimum term of 16 years. He described the killing as grotesque and senseless, and said it appeared Bartlam had wanted to “get away with the perfect murder”.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Meynall, who led the investigation, said she had never dealt with such a horrific case. “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 said.”This murder has devastated everyone involved. 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.”She added: “Maybe one day Daniel will tell the truth, as there are several gaps that only he can fill.”
Meynall said Bartlam had been arrested after his version of events was contradicted by other witnesses. “We know Daniel spent time planning to kill his mum, and then executed his plan overnight,” she said.”From his computer, we recovered a deleted story about a character called Daniel Bartlam who killed his mother in the exact same circumstances in which Jacqueline was killed.In a statement released on behalf of the family, Jacqueline Bartlam’s parents said Daniel’s attempts to depict her as a bad mother “couldn’t be further from the truth”. She was, they said, “a wonderful, loving and caring woman … [who] would always be there to help if anyone was in trouble”.
The statement said the family was still struggling to come to terms with what Daniel had done. “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.”The most difficult part for us and something that only Daniel can answer is ‘why?'” – Theguardian