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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
A tragic end for a 'shining star'
By Julia Houston
BBC News, Manchester

Joe Geeling on a motorbike
Joe never let his condition get in the way of his hobbies
Joe Geeling was an innocent and trusting soul who, despite suffering an incurable disease, got on with life and was a joy to be around.

Tragically, police believe it was these characteristics which played a part in him falling victim to a cold and calculated killer.

The 11-year-old was lured into the bedroom of fellow pupil Michael Hamer, where he was battered with a frying pan before being stabbed to death and buried in a nearby park.

Joe was a popular boy who was well-liked at school, a keen Manchester City supporter who loved motorbikes and riding with his local bike club.

Nicknamed Joey G, his family said he was "bright as a button, a little angel and a shining star".

They said: "If you ever met him and spent even five minutes talking to him, he would leave an impression on you that you would remember and usually with fondness."

11-year-old Joe Geeling
He was the typical vulnerable victim
Det Supt Martin Bottomley

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at six weeks old, Joe lived a normal life, without stopping to worry about his condition.

He was a chatterbox with a talent for problem solving and helping his family fix things around the house.

Always helping out, Joe liked doing the gardening, cleaning the car, or even mending his grandparents' plumbing.

His family say he was an adventurous and inquisitive child - perhaps so much so that when he was told to go to his killer's house one day after school, he had no reason to suspect he might be in danger.

Det Supt Martin Bottomley said Joe was picked on by Hamer, then aged 14, because he was more vulnerable than himself.

Body hidden

"He [Hamer] singled him out because of his illness, because he was young, because he was small and weak and not as heavy as him.

"Obviously he wanted to transfer some of the feelings he was feeling on to Joe, but he went far and away above and beyond that.

"He wanted to inflict pain and suffering on Joe, and of course he did."

When Joe went missing on his way home from school, his parents feared something was wrong immediately.

His body was found hidden in a wooded gulley in a nearby park the following morning.

At Joe's funeral, hundreds of people lined the streets around Guardian Angels RC Church to pay their respects.

The school was overloaded with floral tributes - just one of the many expressions of the disbelief felt at the loss of such a special little boy.

Events leading up to the murder of Joe Geeling

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