Schoolboy jailed for murdering mother with hammer

A schoolboy savagely beat his mother to death with a hammer before setting fire to the family home after being inspired by a plot from Coronation Street.

Daniel Bartlam, then 14, struck his mother Jacqueline Bartlam, 47, with a claw hammer seven times after watching the soap's character John Stape kill his victim in a similar manner.

Bartlam then poured petrol around the bedroom where she had been sleeping before setting it and her body alight. Her body was so badly burned she could only be identified from dental records.

Jacqui Bartlam's parents described their daughter as a "wonderful woman". Credit: Police

The teenager originally lied to police, telling them a burglar had committed the murder on Easter Monday last year, April 25.

But at Nottingham Crown Court today, Bartlam, now 15, was detained for life and told he must serve a minimum of 16 years for what the judge described as the "grotesque" and "senseless" murder

Judge Mr Justice Julian Flaux told the teenager it seemed like he wanted to get away with the "perfect murder".

Bartlam, from Redhill, Nottinghamshire, had claimed it was manslaughter, because he had simply lost his self-control, but a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder in February this year.

After sentencing, DCI Kate Meynall, of Nottinghamshire Police, who led the investigation, called it a "shocking" and "chilling" case.

She said that Daniel had planned to carry out the killing and then attempted to conceal the evidence afterwards by telling police she had been attacked by a burglar.

After his arrest, officers found a deleted story about a character called Daniel Bartlam who killed his mother in the exact manner Jacqueline was killed.

The teenager's activity on video file-sharing site YouTube showed that he watched clips from various soaps and the horror film Saw.

DCI Meynall added: "I have personally never dealt with something like this, and as a police officer this was an extremely shocking case, but the biggest impact has of course been on Jacqueline's family.

"The level of violence, degree of planning and extent of his lies is not only shocking, but it is also chilling that a boy of 14 could do this."

Claw hammer
Police photo of a claw hammer recovered from the burnt out home of Jacqueline Bartlam. Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA Wire

She said the family had been devastated by the murder and were still coming to terms with the loss.

She added: "There is only one person who knows why it happened, and Daniel has lied consistently throughout, making attempts to besmirch Jacqueline's character. Everyone who knew her knew she lived for her children and was a warm, loving mother.

"Maybe one day Daniel will tell the truth, as there are several gaps that only he can fill."In a statement, Mrs Bartlam's parents described their daughter as a "loving" and "caring" mother who would have done anything for her family.

They said: "Daniel attempted to make out during the trial that Jacqui was a bad mother, which couldn't be further from the truth. She loved her boys and would do anything for them."

"We are a very close family and it is hard to know how to deal with something like this.

Twelve years ago we lost the youngest of our daughters and our eldest grandson in a car crash, and to have to go through this twice hurts more than words can say.

"We find it so hard to explain what we are going through. There are no winners here because not only have we lost Jacqui, but we have lost Daniel too because of what he's done.

"We know it was the right result at court but trying to understand how a boy you have loved for 14 years can do something like this is so difficult.

"To find out that Daniel planned to kill his own mother and then hear all the details, it is all so hard to believe. The most difficult part for us and something that only Daniel can answer is 'why?"'