The recent high-profile criminal case where a mother and daughter were murdered in their beds by a pair of fourteen year-old children, has been shocking both because of the age of the accused pair and also because of the unprovoked, graphic and callous nature of the premeditated killings.
The dubious label of "Britain's youngest ever couple to be convicted of murder" means that the media have found the case to be both unusual and sensational. But while the obvious comparisons to 'Bonnie and Clyde' are being made, just how much do we understand about this case? In cases where there is no apparent strong motive for a crime, how do we go about establishing an explanation?
As Sociologists, we seek to understand and explain the often complex relationship between variously motivated social actions and the resulting criminality and deviance.
At the trial, one expert witness offered 'a Bonnie and Clyde-esque scenario' as part of a possible explanation for the murders: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-37648195
The same article also discusses various theories as to why the murderers might have carried out their crimes, including a discussion on shifting norms and values among small groups of people: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-37648195
At the commencement of the trial, the boy entered a guilty plea to both counts of murder; but the girl denied murder and instead admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Although she did not physically take part in the killings, the court heard that she was "the driving force in the killings" and that "if she had said no then it would never ever have happened" which makes her "as guilty of murder" as the boy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-37680917
The girl was eventually found guilty of both murders. The court heard details of how the couple meticulously planned the murders and carried them out to the letter: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-37648195
and after the murders acted in a cold and callous manner: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37693103
Jurors had heard how the teenagers meticulously planned the murders before carrying them out "to the letter"...
Drawn together by suicidal thoughts, they convinced each other over a McDonald's meal that the solution to the grudge she had against 49-year-old Liz Edwards was to kill. Intense planning followed where the murder of Ms Edwards' daughter was also approved...
Sentencing took place on 10th November 2016, where both the boy and the girl were given life sentences with 20-year minimum terms: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37941236
How would you go about constructing an explanation for these crimes, if you were tasked with compiling a report as a Sociologist? Would you, for example, find the Bonds of Attachment theory useful in explaining the couple's sense of detachment from social norms? What about the other theories that we have covered so far on the course?