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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Web friend conned into murder bid
Boy on computer
Boy A thought he was carrying out the orders of a British spy
A teenager created an "elaborate matrix of deceit" on the internet to persuade another boy he had fallen in love with to murder him, a court has heard.

The 14-year-old boy, dubbed Boy B in court, created a series of fictional characters in chatrooms, one of which ordered Boy A to murder him.

Boy A, a 15-year-old, stabbed Boy B twice, but he did not die, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Boy A admitted attempted murder and Boy B has admitted incitement to murder.

Spy sex promise

Boy B also admitted perverting the course of justice.

Boy A, who is now 17, was served with a two-year supervision order and is allowed no contact with Boy B.

Skilled writers of fiction would struggle to conjure up a plot such as that which arises here
Judge David Maddison

Boy B, who is now 15, received a three-year supervision order and is banned from using the internet unless accompanied by an adult and is not allowed access to chatrooms even if supervised.

The court heard Boy B's actions were part of an "extraordinary suicide attempt".

He groomed the older boy to carry out the attack by persuading him he was a female spy who had ordered Boy B to commit murder, the court heard.

He believed that by doing so he would be recruited into the British secret service and would be rewarded with sex with the spy, a middle-aged woman, the court heard.

But the court was told that in reality Boy B had fallen in love with Boy A, conned him into performing sex acts on a webcam, and tricked him into stabbing him twice in Altrincham, Greater Manchester.

'Could you stab someone?'

Posing as the spy on the internet, and promising him sex and cash, Boy B sent messages to Boy A to stab him to death.

These messages included the following exchange:

'Spy' (in reality Boy B): could you stab someone?
Boy A: i haven't really thought about it
'Spy': well think please

Boy A: ok erm well i watch a lot of films

They travelled to the Trafford Centre, where they bought a knife.

The next day, 29 June 2003, Boy A carried out Boy B's orders "to the letter", the court heard.

It was incitement to commit murder - his own murder
Julian Ross, Greater Manchester Police
He stabbed Boy B in the chest and stomach in Altrincham town centre

Boy B survived, and spent a week in Wythenshawe Hospital recovering.

Sentencing, Judge David Maddison said the case was "extraordinary".

"Skilled writers of fiction would struggle to conjure up a plot such as that which arises here," he said.

He added such offences would normally carry a lengthy jail sentence.

"But these could not be described as any normal circumstances," he said.

'Unique' case

The police officer who led the investigation said the boys' lives and the lives of their families had been devastated.

"It was incitement to commit murder - his own murder," said Detective Chief Inspector Julian Ross of Greater Manchester Police.

"I am not aware of any other cases where that has taken place."

Despite the devastating effect the ordeal had on Boy A, Mr Ross said he did not believe Boy B intended to harm him.

"The 14-year-old boy showed no intention to hurt anybody but himself," he said.

"I am quite convinced it was a deliberate suicide attempt."

Mr Ross added: "We have not come across any underlying things that would turn a child to do this sort of thing.

"There is nothing you would see in these boys that is different from any other middle-class family, and the word that keeps coming back to us is what a tragedy it all was."

Sally Hogg, the Criminal Intelligence Analyst, who examined the 56,000 lines of emails and messages, said Boy B developed a dangerous influence over his older friend.

She added: "It sounds so far-fetched that he could have been absorbed by it but there was nothing in the body of the text that would have made him suspicious."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Dave Guest
"It concerns two teenage boys, the internet, and a fantasy that almost ended in murder"



SEE ALSO:
Boy created chatroom murder plot
28 May 04  |  Manchester


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