Boy who murdered mum with hammer inspired by Coronation Street plot
An English schoolboy savagely beat his mother to death with a hammer before setting fire to their home after being inspired by a plot from Coronation Street.
Daniel Bartlam, then aged 14, struck his mother Jacqueline Bartlam (47) with a claw hammer seven times after watching the soap's character John Stape kill his victim in a similar manner.
Bartlam then poured petrol around the bedroom where she had been sleeping before setting it and her body alight.
Her body was so badly burned she could only be identified from dental records.
The teenager originally lied to police, telling them a burglar had committed the murder on Easter Monday last year, April 25.
But at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday Bartlam, now 15, was detained for life and told he must serve a minimum of 16 years for what the judge described as the “grotesque” and “senseless” murder.
Judge Mr Justice Julian Flaux told the teenager it seemed like he wanted to get away with the “perfect murder”.
Bartlam, from Redhill in Nottinghamshire, had claimed it was manslaughter because he had simply lost self-control, but a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder in February.
After sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Meynall, of Nottinghamshire Police, who led the investigation, called it a “shocking” and “chilling” case. She said that Bartlam had planned to carry out the killing and then tried to conceal the evidence by telling police she had been attacked by a burglar.
After examining his computer, officers found a deleted story about a character called Daniel Bartlam who killed his mother in the exact manner Jacqueline was killed. The teenager's activity on video file-sharing site YouTube showed he watched clips from soaps and the horror film Saw.
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 also chilling that a boy of 14 could do this.”
She said: “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.
“Trying to understand how a boy you have loved for 14 years can do something like this is so difficult.”