REVIEW: Jo Frost investigates 14-year-old murderer inspired by Coronation Street on Britain’s Killer Kids
In 2012, teenager Daniel Bartlam was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for the brutal and premeditated murder of his mother Jacqui. Jo Frost is a parenting experts with more than years’ experience doesn’t believe children can be born evil. As she investigates the case of Bartlam in the brand new CI documentary Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids, will she change her mind?
Daniel Bartlam’s story is unique. While the typical murderer tends to fit a certain profile, Bartlam does not. Raised in a middle-class suburb of Nottingham, Bartlam attended private school and did not suffer a mental health disorder. After the divorce of his parents, he grew obsessed with Coronation Street character John Stape, who attacked a character on the soap with a hammer.
Finally, one evening in 2011 when he was just 14-years-old, Bartlam attacked his mother with a hammer to the skull and set the house on fire to cover his crime. He told the police an intruder had murdered his mother, and that he had heroically managed to save his little brother and dog from the ensuing blaze. He believed his crime would go undiscovered, but days later the police recovered a haunting script written by Bartlam that depicted the teen killing his mother in exactly the same circumstances.
It’s a mind-boggling case to unpick – and Frost asks a number of questions to investigators, child behaviour experts and family members of the deceased to try to piece together some answers. What inspired Daniel Bartlam to commit such a horrific crime? Was he born mentally unstable or were his actions a result of life experiences? Can children really be psychopaths when they are still forming their personalities? And is rehabilitation the answer for someone like Bartlam?
The result is a fascinating insight into a mind that seems almost unfathomable. We may never know what Bartlam’s exact motive, but we do delve into possible explanations for his behaviour. Importantly, the documentary deals with what happens after the storm – the task of rehabilitating children in general. It’s a shocking but very thought-provoking hour of television.