It was 2009 when evil Edlington brothers, aged just 10 and 11, tortured, beat and sexual assaulted two boys, aged 9 and 11, almost to death. The sickening attacks shocked the world, and the brothers were jailed. But now, as they both turn 18, a court order banning their identification is about to run out. Now free, and adults, the pair have been granted lifelong anonymity by a judge.

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The case had disturbing echoes of the 1993 murder of 3-year-old James Bulger. A vicious, sickening attack carried out by very young boys, on other little boys, involving torture and sexual assault. And now, the Edlington brothers who carried out this horrific crime want the same thing as James Bulger’s murderers, Jon Venables and Robert Thomson. Anonymity for life…

Lured

It was April 2009 when an injured 9-year-old boy staggered to a house in Edlington, South Yorkshire, covered in blood and begging for help. The police were called, and his 11-year-old friend was later discovered unconscious and close to death in the nearby wood.

And as the police investigation unfolded, what had happened to these boys was truly sickening. Even more disturbing was the age of the attackers – two Edlington brothers, aged just 10 and 11.

The brothers had targeted their young victims at random as they rode their BMX bikes on a Saturday morning that April, luring them from a local park to deserted wasteland.

Edlington brothers

PA Photos

Degrading assault

It was there that the Edlington brothers launched the degrading assault. During their 90 minute ordeal, the victims were subjected to ‘prolonged, sadistic violence’. They were robbed, beaten, stamped on, struck with bricks and other objects, cut with barbed wire, choked with cable, burned.  They were also made to eat nettles, stripped and forced to sexually abuse each other.

The older boy, who nearly died of his injuries, 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.

Recorded

Even more sickeningly, parts of the attack were recorded on a mobile phone.

The brothers were quickly caught and arrested. They admitted to police they’d attacked the boys because they were ‘bored’, and only stopped beating their victims because their arms were ‘aching’.

They were originally charged with attempted murder but later pleaded guilty to GBH, robbery and inciting the boys to engage in sexual activity.

During their sentencing hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, it emerged they’d been placed with foster parents in Edlington just three weeks before the attack. The judge heard they’d grown up in nearby Doncaster with a ‘toxic’ family life with ‘routine aggression, violence and chaos’.

One watched gory Saw horror movies, Chucky films and pornography DVDs. He smoked cannabis from age 9 and drank cider. Both brothers had long records of violent attacks against other children and adults.

Edlington brothers

A track leading to where the critically injured boy, 11, was found. (Photo: PA Photos)

Jailed

Mr Justice Keith jailed both for an indeterminate period with a minimum of five years. Sentencing the pair, he said, ‘The fact is this was prolonged, sadistic violence for no reason other than that you got a real kick out of hurting and humiliating [the victims]. The bottom line for the two of you is that you both pose a serious risk of harm to others. Your crimes are truly exceptional.’

Following the sentencing, the victims’ parents and members of the media requested that the judge allow the brothers to be identified. Yet, after opposition from the defendants, secure institutions where they’d be held, the police and the council, the judge refused to lift the reporting restriction.

Edlington brothers

The wooded area the vicious attack took place in April 2009. (Photo: PA Photos)

Adults

Both the brothers have since been freed after the Parole board deemed they were no longer a threat. Prior to their release, both changed their names by deed poll to protect their identities further.

Lawyers claim both brothers have now been rehabilitated and neither has displayed any aggression or violent behaviour in the community.