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Tuesday, March 2, 1999 Published at 15:09 GMT


Murder victim 'groomed and seduced'

Jamie's body was found five months after he disappeared

A murder trial has heard that a bus driver from Manchester "groomed and seduced" an eight-year-old boy.

Darren Gareth Vickers, 28, from Ashton-under-Lyne, denies abducting and murdering Jamie Lavis in May 1997.

Brian Leveson QC, prosecuting, told Manchester Crown Court that Jamie, an "energetic scamp", had not been at school on the day he met Mr Vickers because it was a bank holiday. He left his home in Gorton at 0830 but did not return for his tea.

During the day Jamie got on the number 219 bus driven by Mr Vickers, Mr Leveson said.

Mr Vickers allowed Jamie into the driver's cab and let him change the bus numbers and bought him a drink, the court heard.

'Befriended, groomed and seduced'

Mr Leveson said: "He spent the day on the bus in the company of the driver.

The Crown alleges that Jamie was "befriended, groomed and effectively seduced by Mr Vickers who, at the end of his shift, took him off in his motor car and at some place murdered him."

Later when the search for Jamie was launched, Mr Leveson said Mr Vickers "had ingratiated himself on Jamie's family and dominated them and became a vigorous media campaigner in the search for Jamie, such that they became his most energetic supporter when the police investigation focused on him".

During the search Mr Vickers led people to a specific area of dense woodland at Reddish Vale, where Jamie's remains were found five months after his disappearance.

Mr Vickers admitted to a friend, Robert Jones, and also to a cellmate after the remains were found that Jamie had fallen on his bus, struck his head and died, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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24 Nov 97 | UK
Bus driver charged over murder of Jamie

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