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The BBC's Danny Shaw
"Jebson confessed to the murders"
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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"He showed no emotion"
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Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Child killer is 'sadistic monster'
Susan Blatchford and Gary Hanlon
The two children in a police photograph from 1970
The families of the "Babes in the Woods" victims say their evil killer should never be released from jail.

Relatives of murdered friends Susan Blatchford, 11, and Gary Hanlon, 12, have pleaded with Home Secretary Jack Straw to let paedophile child killer Ronald Jebson die in prison so no more children would be at risk.

"Gary's death has destroyed my family," said the boy's mother Beryl, 66.

You are a truly wicked and perverted man

Judge David Stokes

"I think the man will still be a danger in his 80s and children do not stand a chance. He is a monster."

Jebson, 61, already serving a life sentence for killing eight-year-old Rosemary Papper in 1974, was given two more life sentences on Tuesday after he admitted murdering the two children 30 years ago.

The parents of Susan and Gary had waited for three decades to find out how or why their children died.

Jebson: Convicted killer
Jebson: Convicted killer

Their badly decomposed bodies were discovered in Epping Forest after they went missing from their homes in Enfield, north London, in March 1970.

The mothers of the dead children, as well Detective Chief Superintendent Leonard "Nipper" Read who was involved in the murder inquiry, were at the Old Bailey to hear Jebson end the mystery surrounding their deaths by pleading guilty.

Judge David Stokes told him: "Thirty years ago you abducted, sexually assaulted and brutally murdered two young children.

"What they went through before they died does not bear thinking about."

Mr Read said outside court: "I always knew the children had been murdered but I had almost given up hope that the case would be solved."


Detective Chief Inspector Declan Donnelly said Jebson was "a fixated, sadistic paedophile".

If he got out, he could never be trusted, I believe he would kill

Det Chief Insp Declan Donnelly
"I personally do not think he confessed to clear his conscience. I think there is a certain element of status building in prison."

He said Jebson was "virtually emotionless" as he recounted the killings in interviews.

Open Verdict

On the day they disappeared Susan had called at Gary's home in Enfield and asked him to go for a walk.

When they failed to return 600 police officers searched the area. They interviewed 15,000 people and searched 4,356 homes.

Their bodies were found 11 weeks later in a copse on Lippitts Hill on the fringe of Epping Forest, six miles from their homes.

Susan's underclothes were missing, but the coroner, Dr Charles Clarke, suggested they might have been removed by foxes.

Poster appeal for missing children in April 1970

Their bodies were so badly decomposed the coroner recorded an open verdict because scientific tests at the time could not tell if the pair had died from exposure or foul play.

But their parents remained convinced the children had been murdered.

Susan's mother, Muriel Blatchford, now 79, said at the time: "The only animal that could remove Susan's bra, pants, and tights is a human animal."

The case was reopened four years ago and last year Susan's body was exhumed for further tests to be carried out. Gary's body had been cremated.

Mrs Hanlon said she had never come to terms with her son's death.

"I still think he is going to walk in," she said.

Mrs Blatchford, who like Mrs Hanlon, still lives in the Enfield area, said her pain was renewed when her daughter's coffin was dug up.

"It brought it all back. To me she was a special girl."

Crucial confession

Attention focused on Jebson, formerly known as Ronald Harper, after he gave police a list of suspects for the murders.

When detectives discovered none of the people named could have been involved, Jebson eventually confessed to the killings.

Mr John Evison, defending Jebson on Tuesday, said: "The only explanation Mr Jebson has given was at the time he was drinking a lot and taking drugs, many drugs.

"He says at the time in March of 1970 he was never sober."

Mr Evison said Jebson did not want to go his grave knowing these murders were unresolved.

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