Daniel Handley, 9, was playing with his bike when he was snatched from the streets of London. Five months later, a body was found in a shallow grave in Bristol. It was Daniel. But what had happened to the poor little boy was truly horrifying…
On 7 October 1994, 9-year-old Daniel Handley was fixing his bike near his home in Beckton, London. When two men pulled up in a car, one called out to Daniel for help. He got out with a map and asked for directions.
Knowing the area well, Daniel agreed to help. But as he stood on the pavement with the man, he was bundled into the back of the car. The Peugeot sped off with a terrified Daniel inside. Little did he know at that time, his kidnappers Tim Morss and Brett Tyler, were paedophiles.
And the men had been plotting a kidnap like this for some time. They had a sick fantasy of kidnapping a 9-year-old boy, raping and killing him. Fair-headed Daniel had fitted their twisted fantasy perfectly. They drove Daniel to a flat in Camberwell where they both took it in turns to sexually abuse him.
The twisted pair even videoed each other abusing him. After, they drove him along the M4 before stopping at Junction 14. There poor Daniel was so scared, he asked the men ‘Are you going to kill me now?’ Those were his last words before he was strangled to death with a rope.
Daniel’s body was dumped in a shallow ditch. By now Daniel’s mum had reported him missing. Police teams searched everywhere for the boy, but there was no sign of him. But five months later, someone came across a small skull in Bristol. Dental records soon revealed it was Daniel’s.
People soon started coming forward with information for the police. One was a psychologist who claimed a client had admitted a sick fantasy about kidnapping, abusing and killing a young boy. He was so concerned when he heard about Daniel, he gave his client’s name to police – Tim Morss.
Turned out Morss had been living in Bristol, near where Daniel’s body was found, but worked as a cab driver in London at the weekends, near where Daniel lived. Morss was arrested, followed by Tyler a few weeks later. It was later revealed in court that both men had a history of sexually abusing children. They’d met in Wormwood Scrubs Prison and had bonded over their depraved sexual desires.
In May 1996, Morss, then 33, and Tyler, 30 were jailed for life for abducting, abusing and murdering Daniel. The judge labeled them ‘evil vultures’ who posed a serious risk to society. The harrowing nature of the case meant that the jury was offered counselling afterwards, as were police officers involved.
In 2002, then Home Secretary David Blunkett, ruled they must spend a minimum of 50 years behind bars.
But because the European Court of Human Rights intervened shortly afterwards to declare the Home Secretary’s role in sentencing unlawful, it is believed that neither killer has yet been formally told how many years they must serve before they can apply for parole.