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1979: Paperboy's killers convicted
Four men have been found guilty of killing paperboy Carl Bridgewater.

Three of the four - James Robinson and cousins Vincent and Michael Hickey - were convicted of murdering Carl after he stumbled across a burglary during his paper round.

The other man, Patrick Molloy, was found guilty of manslaughter.

All four were found guilty of aggravated burglary and will be sentenced on Monday.

At the start of the five-week trial Carl Bridgewater was described by the prosecution as a "cheerful boy" who had set off on his evening paper round "without a worry on his mind".

The 12-year-old's murder after he delivered a paper to Yew Tree Farm in Stourbridge, Staffordshire, caused a national outrage.

Members of the criminal fraternity even broke their traditional code of silence to volunteer information to the police.

In court, judge Mr Justice Drake paid tribute to the "thorough" detective work which captured the defendants.

I believe hanging should be brought back
Brian Bridgewater, Carl's father
However, the men's conviction rested largely on a confession by Patrick Molloy, 51.

Molloy told police he and the others were robbing Yew Tree Farm when Carl walked in through the unlocked door.

He said he had been upstairs at the time but heard a bang and when he came down the boy's body was on the settee.

In his statement Molloy claimed he heard Robinson say the gun had gone off accidentally.

However, none of the others confessed to shooting Carl and the question of why he was killed still haunts his parents, Janet and Brian.

They were both in court to hear the verdicts and later called for the return of hanging for some crimes such as "the killing of children who can do you no harm".

Mr Bridgewater said: "I believe hanging should be brought back, but if they are given life sentences, then they should stop in for life."

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Yew Tree Farm
The paperboy was killled at Yew Tree Farm

Carl's parent relieved at the court verdicts

Eighteen years later the convictions were quashed - see In Context below.

In Context
Three of the men, who became known as the "Bridgewater Four" spent 18 years in jail before their convictions were quashed.

The fourth, Patrick Molloy, died in prison in 1981.

In July 1997 the Court of Appeal ruled they did not have a fair trial because Staffordshire Police had fabricated evidence to persuade Mr Molloy to confess.

The court added there was evidence on which a "jury could convict" Vincent Hickey for involvement in the murder, but said he should go free because his original trial was unfair.

Nobody else has ever been convicted of Carl Bridgewater's murder.

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