Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Edlington boys' torture sentences to remain

Court drawing of the two attackers
The brothers were aged 10 and 11 at the time of the attack

Custodial sentences imposed on two young brothers who attacked two boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire, will not be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

The brothers, aged 10 and 11 at the time of the 2009 attack, were detained indefinitely last month and told they would serve a minimum of five years.

Child welfare campaigners complained that the sentences were too short.

The Attorney General Lady Scotland examined the case but said she was not referring it to the Court of Appeal.

'Exceptional' crimes

Lady Scotland said the sentences, handed by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court last month, were not "unduly lenient".

She said: "This case was truly shocking, not least because of the very young age of the offenders who carried out a prolonged and sadistic attack on two young boys.

"The sentencing judge called it torture and gave them indeterminate detention for public protection with minimum terms of five years.

The scene of the attack in Edlington
The victims were subjected to a 90-minute ordeal

"I do want to emphasise an important point made by the judge, which is that five years is the very least these boys will serve. Both of these sentences will prevent the offenders' release from custody unless and until the parole board decides that the risk that they pose to the public is acceptable.

"Release is by no means automatic."

The attack, which took place last April, involved "prolonged sadistic violence" and sexual humiliation by the brothers on their victims, who were aged nine and 11.

They were strangled, stamped on, hit with bricks and made to eat nettles during the 90-minute ordeal at a secluded spot.

The sentencing judge, Mr Justice Keith, described the crimes as "truly exceptional".

He said they were carried out "for no reason other than that you got a real kick out of hurting and humiliating them".

The charity Kidscape was among those which appealed for the boys' sentences to be increased.

Director Claude Knights said: "It is to be hoped that committed care professionals will now be working very effectively to rehabilitate these boys, and that they will not be released until it can be shown beyond reasonable doubt that it is safe to do so.

"In that way, the true value of indeterminate sentences will be demonstrated to the benefit of both victims and perpetrators."

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