Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Edlington boy torturers to appeal for anonymity

Edlington attack brothers Image copyright Other
Image caption The brothers had moved to Edlington just three weeks before the attack to live with foster parents

A judge will be asked to give indefinite anonymity to two brothers who tortured two young boys in a bout of "prolonged, sadistic violence" in 2009.

The pair, then 10 and 11, were sentenced to an indeterminate period in custody with a minimum of five years following the attacks in the Doncaster village of Edlington.

The victims were nine and 11 years old.

A court order at the time granted the brothers anonymity until both are 18.

The application will be heard at the High Court in London on Thursday.

Image caption The attack happened near the Doncaster village of Edlington

As the younger of the two brothers approaches his 18th birthday, lawyers acting for the pair are seeking an injunction to extend their anonymity indefinitely.

The brothers have appealed to remain anonymous in adulthood claiming that to identify them would breach various sections of the Human Rights Act.

In April 2009, the victims were lured away from a park to a secluded spot by the brothers who promised to show them a toad.

They were subjected to a 90-minute assault of violence and sexual humiliation which drew comparisons with the murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993.

Sink dropped on head

The victims were throttled, hit with bricks, made to eat nettles, stripped and forced to sexually abuse each other.

The older boy had a sink dropped on his head, while the younger boy had a sharp stick rammed into his arm and cigarettes pushed into the wound.

Parts of the attack were recorded on a mobile phone.

The Daily Mail has reported the brothers have now both been released and given new names.

Image caption Jean Wright (pictured in 2009) was the first person to see the nine-year-old victim of the Edlington attacks, and says she will always be haunted by the image of his bloodied face

When they were sentenced, Judge Justice Keith at Sheffield Crown Court said they had committed the "prolonged, sadistic" crimes for no other reason than they got "a real kick out of hurting and humiliating" their victims.

The brothers had moved to Edlington just three weeks before the attack to live with foster parents.

Their victims were led to a "den" hidden from public view, where some of their injuries were inflicted, then another site beneath a ravine where an old sink was used to inflict serious head injuries on the 11-year-old.

Following the attack, the nine-year-old staggered covered in blood to a nearby house to raise the alarm.

The 11-year-old was later discovered unconscious in the nearby wood.

Missed opportunities

In 2012, a probe by Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board into the attack was branded a failure by then education secretary Michael Gove.

Nine agencies involved with the family missed 31 opportunities to intervene and the assault was said to be not only predictable, but entirely preventable.

Doncaster Council took disciplinary action against five members of staff and one former employee and offered "an unqualified apology" for the failings.

The judge heard the boys had a "toxic home life" of "routine aggression, violence and chaos".

Image caption Speaking outside Sheffield Crown Court in 2009, South Yorkshire Police said the brothers had been through the criminal justice system "on several previous occasions"

One watched gory Saw movies and was familiar with Chucky films and pornography DVDs.

He smoked cannabis from the age of nine and drank cider.

At sentencing, the victims' parents and the Sheffield Star newspaper asked the judge to allow them to be identified.

This move was opposed by the defendants, the secure units in which they were being held, the police and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council - and the judge refused to lift the reporting restriction.

He said: "The case has been regarded as raising important issues about the way children from dysfunctional families can go off the rails and about the lack of intervention at critical stages by the local authority social services department and other child protection agencies."

But he said that allowing identification could lead to problems for the brothers, their secure units and the brothers' family.

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