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The thrill of the kill: The sinister youngsters who murdered other children 'for the fun of it' in chilling crimes that shocked their parents and stunned the nation

    Kids who kill other children are a special and disturbing type of murderer
    Children who kill are motivated by enjoyment, jealousy, anger or hurt
    Child murders by other children in Australia have shocked the nation
    A new book starts with 1969 murder of Vicki Barton, 8, by a 15-year-old
    Cases included Helen Moore, 16, whose six victims were all under 7
    Courtney Morley-Clarke, 3, was murdered by her 13-year-old neighbour

By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia

Published: 13:41, 11 May 2016 | Updated: 23:54, 11 May 2016

In the shocking case of Eliza Jane Davis, the 15-year-old was just unlucky to be on the scene at the time when two young teenage girls she called friends made the cold-blooded decision they would murder just for 'the thrill of the kill'.  All three girls lived in a small mining community in the outback Western Australian town of Collie, 200km west of Perth.  On a Saturday night in June, 2006, Eliza Davis, the youngest of the three girls, accompanied them to a party where the trio smoked cannabis and also took an amount of methamphetamine, or ice.  After sleeping off their activities at a shared house, the two 16-year-old girls woke and had a detailed conversation about what it would be like to take somebody else's life.  They had a 'compulsive urge' to kill someone and decided it would be worth taking the risk. The chosen victim of their sinister plan was Eliza, simply because she was there, flicking through a school yearbook when they attacked.  When one of the girls pushed a chemical soaked rag into her mouth, and the other girl wrapped speaker wire around her throat and tightened it, Ms Davis fought back for her life.  But eventually she succumbed, and the two teenagers dragged her lifeless body and buried it under the house in shallow grave. Then they got on with their day.  When they reported Eliza as missing, they then helped her family in the search for the missing teenager.  Days past, and Eliza's body was decomposing beneath the house. In a panic, the girls decided to turn themselves into police.  Tried in the Perth Children's court, the girls were unremorseful but remained nameless because of their ages.  Found guilty, they were sentenced to a minimum of 15 years to life and have since been transferred to an adult facility, Bandyup Women's prison in north eastern Perth.  Eliza Davis's murder is just one of more than 40 cases, including seven Australian, of children killing other children.  'Deadly Games - Kids who kill kids' by Australian authors Gabrielle O' Reilly and Liz Frame, chronicles the disturbing phenomenon highlighted by the 1993 case of 10-year-old British boys Jon Venables and Robert Thompson murdering two year old, James Bulger.  'The abhorrent crime of young children deliberately killing a toddler struck a chord with society,' the authors write.

'We were shocked we had progressed to the stage where a young child could be ruthlessly killed by other children because of our innate belief that children are born good.  '[But] children or young teenagers have been killing other children for centuries and will likely continue to do so into the future.  Cases of children killing children [have] no clear pattern or cause. The truth may well be that in some instances children are born innately bad.  Children also do shocking things because their sense of right and wrong and understanding about controlling impulses has not yet matured.'

The authors have categorised their killers into three sections.  First is the thrill killers who 'enjoy not only the hands-on kill, but the torture beforehand and sometimes the mutilation afterward'.  The second group targets their prey for fairly innocuous reasons, 'annoyance, anger, hurt or jealousy'.  The third group of murderous children are school  shootings in America which O'Reilly and Frame say involve 'killing specific targets out of anger, hurt or wounded pride'.  Eliza Davis's murder and four other disturbing Australian cases fall into the thrill kill category.  The earliest, at least in this book, was a murder that shocked the nation, when eight-year-old Vicki Barton vanished at Lawson in the Blue Mountains in 1969 while her family was enjoying their Christmas holidays.   Vicki, her four siblings and three other young family friends headed off to the local pool for a swim. But Vicki vanished on the road  near the pool. Unbeknown to the others, 15-year-old local boy Alfred Jessop had convinced the pretty little blonde girl to go for a walk with him to Lawson Oval.  There, he began to fondle Vicki and asked her for sex. When she refused, he strangled her for fear she would tell her mother.  He placed her still warm corpse in the trailer attached to his bicycle and rode 15km to bush land in nearby Springwood, where he dumped her remains in Devil's Paddock.  Over the painful weeks and months that followed, police failed to find Vicki. But 18 months later, in August 1970, an eight-year-old local girl Hana Dostal found the remains of a child near Springwood.  It was Vicki, but police were still far from finding her killer. Jessop, meanwhile, continued to assault women and was sent to jail.   In 1977, 24-year-old Jessop was arrested. He had bragged about his loathsome crime in prison and a fellow inmate had informed police.  Jessop was deemed a dangerous psychopath and sexual deviant and sentenced to life behind bar,s but was released in 2003.  Another disturbing case was of Helen Patricia Moore, who grew up in Sydney's south-western suburbs in the 1960s and 70s.  Young Helen had always been a problem child for her mother Jesse Moore, who found her own daughter self destructive and difficult to communicate with, as well as violent towards others.  In 1978, when she was 16 years old, Helen broke up with her first boyfriend and was devastated. One week later, her 14-month-old half brother Andrew was found dead in his cot. The death was put down to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Two months later, Helen was babysitting her 16-month-of cousin Suzanne. When Suzanne was found dead, it was also put down to SIDS.  Two months later, the Moores' house burnt down and then one of Helen's brothers broke his arm.  Some time this a now 17-year-old Helen was asked to babysit a two-year-old boy, Aaron, who stopped breathing while in her care. He survived, but was left blind and brain damaged, and later died.  Three weeks after the incident with Aaron, yet another child died in Helen's care. This time, people were unspicious, but nothing happened to Helen.  Then, in 1980, Jesse Moore returned home to find her son Peter, 7, lying dead at the bottom of the stairs. On the way to the police station to report the 'accident' she noticed that Helen's arm and hand were covered in scratches.  Jesse confronted her daughter, who broke down and confessed. At the police station Helen made a chilling confession, that she wanted to kill children because she liked to kill.  Helen Patricia Moore was given three life sentences and a further ten years, but in the end only served 13 years in prison and was released in 1993.  The case of three-year old Courtney Morley-Clarke, who was taken from her NSW Central Coast home one night in January 2001, was made all the more disturbing when police tracked her killer.  When her disappearance was discovered the next morning, police were called and a search was made of neighbouring homes and nearby bush land.  The body of the child wearing only a nappy was found in an area of very tall grass, with a stab wound through the heart.  A boy who can only be identified as SLD, aged 13 years and 10 months at the time, was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to 20 years with a non-parole period of 10 years.   The boy had been living with foster parents and had been 'disturbed' and was being counselled before the murder.  One of the more disturbing and planned thrill kills was orchestrated by Matthew Meuleman, better known as Matthew Milat after he changed his surname at the age of 14 to match that of his infamous great uncle, the notorious serial killer Ivan Milat.  Three years later, the AustralĀ­ian teenager went on to prove that he could murder too, in the same killing ground favoured by his great uncle, the Belanglo Forest, south of Sydney.  On November 20, 2010, which was a boy called David Auchterlonie's 17th birthday, 'Auchto' as he was know to his friends met up in the Southern Highlands town of Bargo to celebrate.  One of the mates was Matthew Milat, who suggested they go to Belanglo to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis.  Milat said he wanted to go check out the plaques of Ivan Milat's seven victims, the backpackers who were murdered in the forest.  Milat and another boy, Cohen Klein, went to the boot of the car and asked Auchterlonie to join them. Milat then swung a two-headed axe at him and ordered him to the ground.  There Milat tortured Auchterlonie while Klein recorded it on his phone. Milat accused him of being disloyal and threatened to cut his head off.  Finally Milat delivered the last, sickening blow and killed Auchterlonie. Cohen Klein received a 22 year sentence, while Milat received a maximum 43 years in the same prison system in which his his psychopathic uncle is set to die.

'Deadly Games - Kids who kill kids' by Australian authors Gabrielle O' Reilly and Liz Frame, published by Echo Press, $32.95