Daniel Boulton: A killer without remorse

  • ITV News reporter Emma Wilkinson, who covered the trial of Daniel Boulton, reports on a case that shocked a community

As 30-year-old Daniel Boulton was led down to the cells knowing that he would spend at least the next 40 years of his life behind bars, he showed a typical lack of emotion.

Throughout his trial, and through some graphic descriptions of the savagery he had carried out, Boulton never once exhibited any sense of distress or regret. 

In fact, at the end of some days in court, as he was taken out of the dock, Boulton stood up and coolly stared at the families whose lives he has so cruelly destroyed. 

Today was no different – not one shred of remorse for killing a young mother and her son in the most callous and emotionless of ways. 

Boulton was convicted of both murders on Tuesday Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

It was in stark contrast to the emotion in the public gallery, where the family of Bethany Vincent, who was just 26, and nine-year-old Darren 'DJ' Henson understandably struggled to contain their distress as the horrific details were laid out.

The police praised the dignity and bravery the family has shown since Bethany and DJ died, and that has certainly been evident throughout the trial.

Both DJ's father and relatives and Bethany’s family have sat together, supporting each other through some truly harrowing evidence. 

A violent and dangerous man

Boulton had a history of violence and a string of convictions, including domestic abuse involving Bethany.

The trial heard how he was controlling and manipulative and had developed an irrational hatred and resentment of DJ, who had autism.

He’d told people he blamed DJ for problems in his relationship with Bethany, even claiming that DJ "picked on him". 

In the days before 31 May, despite two restraining orders, Boulton bombarded Bethany with hundreds of messages, some of them threatening.

On the day before the murders he sent her a message which read, chillingly, "nightmare on Holme Street". 

Investigations are carried out at the home where Bethany Vincent and Darren Henson were murdered Credit: PA

The deadly journey

Just before midnight on 30 May, Daniel Boulton set off from a hostel in Skegness, for the house where Bethany and DJ lived.

He walked the 28 miles to Louth and made one unsuccessful attempt to get into the house the following afternoon.

But he then loitered around the town for hours, and was pictured on CCTV footage going to a local convenience store.On the evening of 31 May Bethany and DJ FaceTimed Bethany’s mum, Caroline. It was the last time she would see them.

At around 8.20pm dashcam footage from a passing car showed Bethany in the front room of the home.

Just minutes later, Boulton was seen outside in an alleyway walking away from the house.

He appeared agitated and flustered.

"Call an ambulance, someone has been stabbed," he was heard to say.

When police arrived they found Bethany and DJ had been beaten and stabbed multiple times. A baby who was also in the house had been left unharmed.

The manhunt

After carrying out the killings, Boulton made his way to the rural Hubbard’s Hills area.

He broke into an empty bungalow and stole food, alcohol and a change of clothes.

On the morning of 1 June, off-duty police officer PC Stephen Dennis was walking his dog in the area when he spotted Boulton and tried to apprehend him.

Boulton stabbed him in the leg and fled. Desperately trying to escape, Boulton approached two people in their cars and tried, unsuccessfully, to get in.

A huge number of armed police, along with a police helicopter, were tracking his movements and he was eventually cornered at a nearby farm in Hallington. His time was up. Boulton was tasered and arrested.

In footage of his arrest, Boulton can be heard asking for water and saying "I know I’m an evil b*****d".

A desperate defence

Boulton admitted that he had killed Bethany and DJ, but he forced their loved ones to endure a trial with one last attempt to avoid being convicted of murder: a claim that his dissocial personality disorder had effectively meant he was unable to exercise self-control when he repeatedly stabbed them.

But the jury did not accept that, taking a little over two hours – including a lunch break – to convict Boulton of murder.

What next for the families?

Dozens of people lined the streets for Bethany and DJ's funeral Credit: ITV News

The deaths of Bethany and DJ prompted a huge outpouring of public grief. 

Dozens of people attended a vigil in Bethany's home town of Chapel St Leonard’s and people lined the streets to say a final goodbye on the day of their funerals.

With support of the family, a group of local people also created a charity called Be Their Voice.

It aims to raise awareness of domestic and relationship abuse in memory of Bethany and DJ.

In court today, family members wore t-shirts bearing that message.

Sarah Parkin and Martin Johnson, from the charity, said: "Our hearts and minds have never been far away from Bethany and DJ since their deaths, and never more so now.

"We shared in the shock of their deaths with our community, and from this developed our passion and commitment to ensure they did not die in vain.

"We will move forward to create a fitting legacy to them, by raising awareness of relationship and domestic abuse to help individuals recognise the early signs of toxic behaviours, and by signposting victims to support."Now that Boulton is behind bars, the hope is that his victims will not have died in vain.