A schoolgirl has been convicted of helping her boyfriend brutally murder a mum and her young daughter in the most harrowing circumstances. The teenage sweethearts were just 14 when they stabbed Elizabeth Edwards and her daughter, Katie, 13, to death. It's horrifying to think kids are capable of such sickening crimes. Thankfully they're rare, but so shocking they become notorious...
Amarjeet Sada: The world’s youngest convicted serial killer
Comitting his crimes between the ages of 7 and 8, Amarjeet Sada is thought to be the youngest convicted serial killer in the world.
In 1996, a mother from his village found her six-month-old daughter had gone missing from a primary school where she’d left her to sleep while she carried out chores nearby.
Amarjeet, son of an impoverished couple from the eastern state of Bihar, admitted he’d taken the baby to a secluded field, then strangled her and bludgeoned her face and head with a heavy stone. Her battered body was discovered by relatives, covered with grass and leaves.
A few months earlier, Amarjeet had come under suspicion of strangling his own baby sister and, a year previously – when he was only seven – of bludgeoning his one-year-old cousin to death. His family apparently knew he had carried out these killings, but they didn’t go to police, saying later that it was ‘a family matter’. Since the first two killings went unreported, police had no clear details of the crimes, and no official investigations were carried out.
But when Amarjeet was confronted by police after the murder of his latest victim, he was seemingly proud of what he’d done, revelling in confessing all the gory detail, and simply smiling when he was questioned as to why. He was also able to show police where he’d put the infant’s body. Amarjeet Sada was found guilty of murder, but, under Indian law, he could only be sentenced to three years in prison as a juvenile. He may then have been detained in a children’s home until reaching the age of 18 this year, although the details are unverifiable.
The Twilight killers
In April 2016 dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and her daughter Katie, 13, were brutally stabbed to death as they slept in their home in Spalding, Lincolnshire. When police went to the home they found the killers lying on a mattress. They were just school kids, aged 14, who’d planned the bloodbath over a McDonald’s.
When they asked the girl where Elizabeth was, she replied, ‘Upstairs’. When they asked the boy what had happened to her, he said, ‘Why don’t you go and see?’
The boy pleaded guilty to murder, while the girl went on trial claiming she had a mental disorder. In court, the jury heard the schoolgirl’s sickening blow-by blow-account of how they’d broken into the house in the middle of the night, and, armed with a 20cm kitchen knife, the boy had stabbed first Elizabeth, then Katie, as the girl watched.
The pair, described as a Bonnie and Clyde couple, then planned to kill themselves but couldn’t go through with it. Instead they had a bath, went downstairs and spent the next 36 hours in the house repeatedly watching Twilight before having sex. The girl has now been convicted of murder at Nottingham Crown Court and both teens, now 15, will be sentenced in November.
Marcelo Pesseghini: The copycat kid
Marcelo Pesseghini, 13, had told friends he dreamed of being a hired killer and murdering his parents. And in August 2013, he did just that, using his father Luiz’s police-issue revolver. Luis, 40, was found dead in bed, while the body of his wife, Andreia, 36, was discovered on her knees in the bedroom floor. Marcelo’s grandmother and great aunt were also found dead in bed.
Marcelo had then got a lift to school from a friend and spent the day in classes before walking home and shooting himself in the head. The revolver was found nearby and another gun was discovered in his school bag. Marcelo is believed to have been re-enacting the infamous 1974 Amityville murders in New York, where a man shot his family as they slept – an event with which he was thought to be obsessed.
Girl A: Schoolgirl slasher
At lunchtime on 1 June 2004, an 11-year-old schoolgirl lured her 12-year-old classmate Satomi Mitarai into an empty room at Okubo Elementary School in Sasebo, Japan. There the killer slit Satomi’s throat with a box cutter and left her to bleed to death, returning to her own classroom, covered in blood.
The girls’ teacher noticed that they were both missing and soon found Satomi’s body. The killer, known only as Girl A due to Japan’s legal system, reportedly told police she was annoyed by comments Satomi had made about her during internet chats.
According to reports, classmates claimed they’d seen Girl A reading horror books, including Battle Royale, about schoolkids who kill each other. A Japanese Family Court ruled to put aside Girl A’s young age due to the severity of the crime, and she was institutionalised until 2008.
Brenda Ann Spencer: Schoolgirl sniper
As killer kids go, Brenda Ann Spencer – immortalised in the Boomtown Rat’s number one hit ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ – is right up there as one of the most infamous. The San Diego Cleveland Elementary School shooting took place on 29 January 1979. It left two dead, and nine injured.
Aiming her .22-caliber rifle at the school gates from a window in her house, 16-year-old schoolgirl Brenda Ann Spencer used kids waiting to be let in as target practice. In the chaos that ensued, she shot and killed headmaster Burton Wragg and school custodian Mike Suchar as they tried to help the terrified children.
On a hunch, a reporter at the scene dialled the telephone number of the house the police had pinpointed as the sniper’s nest. Brenda Ann answered and the reporter asked her if she knew what was happening. She told him, ‘Yeah, who do you think’s doing the shooting?’ The reporter asked her why, and she famously replied, ‘I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.’
Her attack on the school lasted 15 minutes. After a six-hour stand off with police, she surrendered. Sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison, she’s next up for parole in 2019.
Helen Patricia Moore: The killer babysitter
Something of a problem child, Helen Patricia Moore was self-destructive, hard to communicate with and given to violence.
When she was 16, in 1978, Sydney-born Helen was devastated when her relationship with her first boyfriend ended. When, a week later, her 14-month-old half brother Andrew died suddenly in his cot, the tragedy was put down to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Startlingly, SIDS hit a second time when Helen’s 16-month-old cousin Suzanne also died while Helen was babysitting.
The family seemed beset with misfortune when their home burnt down two months after Suzanne’s death. Then one of Helen’s brothers broke his arm…
Not long after, Helen, by now 17, agreed to babysit a neighbour’s two-year-old son Aaron. The child stopped breathing under her care and was left blind and brain-damaged. He later died.
Three weeks later, another child Helen was babysitting died. Now people were suspicious about Helen, although no action was taken against her.
Then, in 1980, Helen’s mother Jesse returned home to find her son Peter, 7, dead at the bottom of the stairs. Seeing that Helen’s arm and hand were covered in scratches, Jesse confronted her. Helen broke down and confessed.
At the police station, Helen admitted that she’d wanted to kill children because she liked to kill.
Helen Patricia Moore was given three life sentences and a further ten years, but in the end only served 13 years in prison and was released in 1993.
Joshua Phillips: Playtime bludgeoner
When eight-year-old Maddie Clifton vanished from her home in Jacksonville, Florida, in November 1998, the community rallied together to search for the little girl. Flyers were posted around town and hundreds helped. One of those volunteering his time to search for the missing child was 14-year-old Joshua Phillips.
A week after Maddie’s disappearance, Joshua’s mother Melissa went to clean her son’s room, and noticed his waterbed was leaking. Investigating the problem, to her horror she discovered Maddie Clifton’s body stuffed underneath. Joshua Phillips was arrested at school that same day.
He told police he’d been playing baseball with the child, and had accidentally hit Maddie with a ball. Panicking, Phillips dragged the screaming girl to his room, strangled her with a phone cord, beat her with a bat and stabbed her 11 times.
Josh, who had no history of violence, was charged as an adult and found guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life without parole in 1999.
Jesse Pomeroy: The boy torturer
Born in 1859 In Charlestown, Massachusetts, Jesse Pomeroy was dubbed ‘The Boy Torturer’ and ‘The Boston Boy Fiend’.
It seems Pomeroy started to torture other children at age 11. From 1871-72, local reports told of several young boys who’d been lured to a secluded spot and attacked by an older boy, who beat and abused them with his fists, a belt and sometimes, a knife.
When Pomeroy’s family moved to South Boston, the attacks followed. He was arrested and sent to the Lyman School For Boys. But, in 1874, Pomeroy was paroled back to his family – an act that would have deadly consequences.
On 23 April of that year, the mutilated body of a 4-year-old boy was found in a marsh ditch by two boys exploring the area. The body was semi-naked with numerous stab wounds – one of which ran the length of his neck – and something had been stabbed into his eye. The little boy’s body had also been set alight.
Police immediately sought out Pomeroy, and he was found guilty of murder in December 1874. Originally sentenced to hang until dead, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in solitary confinement in 1876. He died in a hospital for the criminally insane in 1932.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson: The Bulger killers
Daniel Bartlam: The Corrie killer
In a savage, chilling murder inspired by a soap storyline, 14-year-old Daniel Bartlam bludgeoned his mother to death with a claw hammer at their home in Nottingham before stuffing newspaper down the side of her body, pouring petrol over her and burning her corpse in April 2011.
Fleeing the fiery house with his younger brother and dog, and calling for help at a neighbour’s, Bartlam told the fire crew that the disaster was the work of an intruder. But, during the weeks of investigation following the tragedy, detectives found damning evidence on Bartlam’s computer that suggested he’d premeditated his mother’s murder.
It was a story he’d written based on a fictional killing committed by Coronation Street character, John Stape. Bartlam had tried to delete the story days before he murdered his mother. In it, the lead character, played by himself, kills his mother in an almost word-for-word account of the real crime.
Bartlam was jailed for a minimum of 16 years in 2012.
Mary Bell: Child strangler
In 1968, 11-year-old Mary Bell strangled to death two little boys – 4-year-old Martin Brown and 3-year-old Brian Howe.
The first little boy’s body was found in a derelict house, and the second on waste ground near his home a couple of months later. Mary had killed Brian Howe by strangulation and used a razor to carve an M into his stomach. His penis had also been mutilated and some of his hair cut off.
On 17 December 1968, Mary was detained indefinitely after being found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Mr Justice Cusack said there was a, ‘Very grave risk to other children if she is not closely watched.’
She was released in 1980, aged 23, and granted anonymity, including a new name.
Edmund Kemper: The Co-ed butcher
Serial killer and necrophile Edmund Kemper started his killing career at 15, when he shot his grandparents at their California ranch in 1964. When questioned, Kemper said that he, ‘just wanted to see what it felt like to kill grandma’ – and that he killed his grandfather as he’d have been angry at what he’d done.
Kemper, a 6ft 9in man with a high IQ of 140, showed disturbing behavior from a young age. He buried animals alive, including his pet cat; he’d enact sex rituals with his sister’s dolls, and was locked in the basement by his abusive alcoholic mother as she feared he’d rape his sister.
As an adult, Kemper killed and dismembered the bodies of six female hitchhikers, before murdering his mother and her friend and handing himself in. He was sentenced to life behind bars in 1973.
Santre Sanchez Gayle: Teenage hitman
Britain’s youngest hitman, Santre Sanchez Gayle, was just 16 with he shot dead Gulistan Subasi in east London for a meager £200 in March 2010.
Hired by Izak Billy, 22, Gayle blasted his victim in the chest at point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun as she stood on her doorstep. It was the eve of Gulistan’s 9-year-old son’s birthday, and she had returned to London from Turkey to see him.
Gayle had calmly approached her flat, rung her doorbell and waited for the 26-year-old mother to open her door…CCTV showed a hooded assassin who hid his face from the camera – seemingly a professional contract killer, rather than a schoolboy.
Detectives were at a dead end until Gayle’s ego gave him away – he was apprehended after he bragged to another youth about his cold-blooded kill. Sentenced in 2011, Gayle was found guilty of murder and told he must serve at least 22 years behind bars.
Judge Stephen Kramer described Gayle as a cannabis dealer who expected to be paid £2,000 for the murder. He said, ‘You were an easily led, immature youngster, who, if money was involved, was capable of violence out of loyalty, having cynically been used by others. You shot and killed Gulistan for money, and at the bidding of an older man who you were trying to impress.’