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The Chilling True Story Behind New BBC Drama 'Responsible Child'

The Chilling True Story Behind New BBC Drama 'Responsible Child'

If you're a fan of true crime then make sure to tune into BBC2 tonight for their one-off drama Responsible Child, which is based on real life events.

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The thought-provoking drama follows 12-year-old Ray, who is charged with murdering his abusive stepfather alongside his brother Nathan, 23.

Ray, who is described as a "sensitive" child and has acted as a carer to his infant half-siblings, is tried as an adult for the crime despite only being on the cusp of adolescence.

The 90-minute drama explores England and Wales' minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is 10, and more importantly whether a child can ever be as responsible for their actions as an adult.

Written by Skins' Sean Buckley, the drama draws comparisons from the 2014 case of Jerome Ellis, 14, and his brother Joshua, 23, who murdered their stepfather Neil Tulley in a frenzied knife attack as he lay on the family sofa.

The drama is based on 14-year-old Jerome Ellis, 14, who was convicted with of manslaughter (Credit: Surrey Police)
The drama is based on 14-year-old Jerome Ellis, 14, who was convicted with of manslaughter (Credit: Surrey Police)
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At the time, the Court heard the brothers had inflicted more than 60 wounds to Mr Tulley, who was "asleep or nearly asleep" at the house he shared with their mother Marie and her children in Cedar Way, Guildford.

Both siblings stated at the time of their trial that their stepfather was abusive and had a year prior to Tulley's murder, threatened to kill Joshua, who struggled with depression, and swung at him with an axe.

Mr Tulley was arrested for the incident and charged with making threats to kill but was cleared by a jury.

Ultimately, Jerome, who was a young carer for his half-siblings much like character Ray, was sentenced to six years in detention for manslaughter on the basis of loss of control.

'Responsible Child' follows 12-year-old Ray, who is charged with murdering his abusive stepfather (Credit: BBC)
'Responsible Child' follows 12-year-old Ray, who is charged with murdering his abusive stepfather (Credit: BBC)

According to BBC, the judge said it was a "tragic case" adding that Jerome had been neglected and was living in an abusive environment.

"Given your youth, this court hopes that whatever therapy or psychotherapy you receive will ensure that upon release you will be able to lead a normal life," the judge said.

Nick Holt, the show's director, said of the upcoming drama: "Whilst making The Murder Trial, I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder.

"It's an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. Ten is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The 90-minute drama explores England and Wales' minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is 10 (Credit: BBC)
The 90-minute drama explores England and Wales' minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is 10 (Credit: BBC)

"This is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I'm delighted to be working with Kudos and the BBC."

Responsible Child airs on BBC2 tonight at 9pm

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: True Crime, BBC, TV News, TV Entertainment

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at [email protected]

 

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