Two young brothers have admitted subjecting a nine-year-old boy and his 11-year-old uncle to a sustained “horror” attack.
A court has heard how the older victim pleaded to be left to die after his ordeal at the hands of the brothers who were aged 10 and 11 at the time.
The details of the attack in Edlington, South Yorkshire, have led many to draw comparisons with the murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993.
Few details of the incident were given in court yesterday.
But previous hearings were told how the boys were hit with sticks and bricks, one had a sink dropped on his head, one had a noose put round his neck and the other was burned with a cigarette on his eyelids and ear.
A district judge in April was told how the younger boy had a sharp stick rammed into his arm and cigarettes pushed into the gaping wound.
Their tormentors also tried to force the boys into performing sex acts on each other.
The nine-year-old tried to ram a stick down his own throat after he was told to “go away and kill himself” by one of his tormentors.
Yesterday, at Sheffield Crown Court, the brothers admitted causing their victims grievous bodily harm with intent.
They denied more serious charges of attempted murder but the prosecution accepted their pleas and said there would be no trial.
The boys will be sentenced at a later date, probably in early November, after a series of reports have been prepared.
Prosecutors later defended their decision not to pursue the attempted murder charge saying the GBH with intent charge carries the same maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
They also said the decision spared the young victims of the attack from giving evidence in a trial.
Later, the mother of the eldest victim said she was “pleased” with yesterday's outcome.
Speaking from her home, she said: “We're pleased that they did plead guilty and now we're just waiting to see what happens in November.
“We just want to get on with it now.”
She said the families were not upset about the CPS's decision to accept pleas to lesser charges and said she was happy the boys did not have to be put through a trial.
Both boys were “fine” and recovering well, she said.
The attack on the two boys happened after the brothers led them to a “desolate” spot on the edge of the former pit village, near Doncaster, on April 4.
The brothers were arrested after the nine-year-old boy was found wandering, covered in blood and the 11-year-old was then discovered unconscious in a nearby wooded ravine.
Peter Kelson QC, representing the elder defendant, talked of the “horror of the incidents”.
Both the injured boys have since been released from hospital.
The judge, Mr Justice Keith, told the families of the victims they had not been forgotten by the court despite the focus of yesterday's proceedings being on ensuring the defendants understood what was happening.
The brothers also faced charges in relation to an assault on another 11-year-old a week before the young boys were attacked.
They denied making threats to kill and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent yesterday but each pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. This was also accepted by the prosecution. Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, said the offences began with the violence on the first 11-year-old boy and culminated in the “more serious” attack on the other two boys.