Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Teenagers jailed for life after murders should be named in reports, says judge

A judge says a teenage couple detained for life for murdering a mother and daughter should be named in media reports.

The boy and girl - both 14 at the time of the murders - had sex, shared a bath and watched vampire-themed films after the stabbing of dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and 13-year-old Katie Edwards.

Both killers were handed 20-year minimum terms at Nottingham Crown Court last month by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, who said the pair had a ''toxic'' relationship and had acted in a ''grotesque'' way.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said on Thursday that both should be named.

But he said the teenagers' identities would remain secret pending any appeal bid by their lawyers.

Jurors at Nottingham Crown Court had heard how the boy used a kitchen knife to stab both victims in the neck after attacking them as they slept at their home in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in April.

The boy had admitted murder.

His girlfriend, who helped to plan the killings, denied murder but admitted manslaughter.

She claimed to have been suffering a mental abnormality which impaired her ability to form rational judgments.

Jurors found her guilty of murder after a five-day trial.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave had said the children could not be named in reports during the trial.

Journalists argued that their identities should now be revealed.

The judge agreed and said identifying the teenagers would be in the public interest.

He said lawyers for the teenagers would have time to consider whether they wanted to challenge his decision in the Court of Appeal.

And he said the teenagers should not be named in media reports until decisions on any appeals had been made.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said he had considered an application to allow journalists to reveal names from the Press Association news agency.

The judge said he had heard argument from Press Association reporter Matthew Cooper.

Other journalists from other media organisations supported the news agency's application.

Lawyers representing the children put forward counter arguments.

The judge said he had balanced competing human rights - the right respect for private life, enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the right to free expression, enshrined in Article 10.

"I have carefully considered all the competing considerations outlined above," said Mr Justice Haddon-Cave in a ruling published on Thursday.

"In my judgment, the balance is strongly in favour of ... the 'open justice' principle."

He added: "There is a strong public interest in full and unrestricted reporting of this exceptional case."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph