Teenage Kicks – by Rachel Hogg

On Saturday, several people had seen the young sweethearts in a secluded corner of the local McDonalds. Seen, but not really noticed. The boy and girl sat in their own little world, making plans and sharing salty kisses between mouthfuls of chicken McNugget.

By Wednesday night, the first of their plans had come to fruition. Afterwards, they built a den on the living room floor and binged on ice-cream and Netflix. It was not until the following Saturday that the police kicked the door in. The young couple had gone AWOL before, and concerns had been raised about their recent disappearance. But until this moment, these hadn’t been the people the police were looking for.

Later that day, crime scene officers unearthed a diary from the clutter on the living room, the sort favoured by teenage girls. Bound in pink leather, and kept silent by a flimsy padlock, it was the sort of diary where dreams and plans were documented. FUCK YOU WORLD being the opening line.

‘So, you were intending to commit suicide?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Why?’

‘Dunno’. A shrug. ‘It’s what people do, isn’t it?’

FUCK YOU WORLD. We want to be cremated, and we want our ashes scattered in our special place. We don’t give a FUCK anymore!

‘Do you understand what you’ve done?’

‘Yes.’

‘And how do you feel?’

‘I feel OK about it.’

‘OK?’

‘It all happened so quickly, and it wasn’t torture, so that gave me peace of mind.’

In a separate interview room, the boy refuses to speak. But when he is told that his girlfriend has admitted to everything, his confession runs freely.

‘I came to the house and knocked on the window. That was the plan. If it was safe, she would let me in through the bathroom window.’

‘And this happened on Wednesday night?’

‘Yeah. I came on Monday night and Tuesday night as well, but she’d fallen asleep.’

‘So, you climbed through the bathroom window. Then what happened?’

‘I opened my bag and took out the knives. I chose the biggest one. She chose a knife as well, but then she got cold feet.’

A child psychologist will later link the young couple’s behaviour to incidents in their early childhoods. The boy had lost his mother to cancer at a young age, and had spent his short lifetime searching for his place in the world. The girl had had a brief period in care at the age of six, and had had trust issues ever since. The boy looked after her. He was her rock. And he relished the opportunity to play the hero. Their relationship, it was noted, was ‘toxic’.

GIRL
‘I went into the bedroom, to see if he was alright. There were scratch marks on his back because she’d clawed him to get off her. She said something like ‘get off me’, but I’m not sure because she was gurgling.’

BOY
‘She was lying on her side and I stabbed her in the neck, twice.’

GIRL
‘I’d never got on with my mum, from a young age. She favoured my younger sister. She said she didn’t, but I knew she was lying.’

Hardened detectives working on the case go home that night and examine their own children through fresh eyes. Can they ever truly know what they’re thinking? Behind the laughter and the childhood games, are there darker forces at work? They hold their children extra tightly that evening, and make sure they know they are loved.

BOY
‘Then I went into Katie’s bedroom. I stabbed her in the neck and smothered her with a pillow.’

GIRL
‘I feel relieved. My Mum doesn’t have to deal with me being suicidal anymore. She doesn’t have to wake up worrying every morning and seeing if I’m still alive. And my sister doesn’t have to deal with the heartbreak.’

In April 2016, Elizabeth Edwards (49) and her daughter, Katie (13) were discovered murdered in their beds. Elizabeth’s daughter, Kim Edwards, and Kim’s boyfriend, Lucas Markham, were discovered at the scene and admitted to the murders. They were fourteen years old.
In 2016 they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2017, their sentences were reduced to 17 and a half years, and their names made public.

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