“(Susan) is my unforgettable girl, a special baby...when she was born she had the (umbilical) cord round her neck three or four times...I believe that that baby in heaven chooses to come to you. And she chose me knowing what was going to happen to her eventually.”
Susan’s mother, Muriel Blatchford
“Gary’s death has destroyed my family.”
Gary’s mother, Beryl Hanlon
On 28 March 2000, Ronald Jebson was charged with the murders of Susan Blatchford and Gary Hanlon at Brent Magistrates Court.
On 9 May at the Old Bailey, the 61-year-old white haired and bearded Jebson pleaded guilty. His defence said in mitigation that Jebson was on drink and drugs at the time of the offences. They added that Jebson had now confessed because he didn’t want to take his crimes to his grave.
Detective Donnelly believes that Jebson didn’t confess to clear his conscience. He did it to build his status in prison. He called him a ‘highly dangerous, fixated, sadistic paedophile’ and added;
“If he got out, he could never be trusted, I believe he would kill.”
Jebson received two life sentences. As with his confession, he showed no emotion on receiving his sentence.
Thirty years after he destroyed their lives, Gary and Susan’s relatives saw some sort of justice.
The mothers of his victims, Beryl, 66, and Muriel 79, implored the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, to make sure Jebson dies in jail. They hoped that because Straw had already ensured this with the child-killing Myra Hindley, he might do the same for them.
Also present in court was the now retired Inspector Read. He felt vindicated for his decades of suspicion. He kissed Gary’s mother on the cheek and said;
“We was right wasn’t we Beryl”
Jebson, a paedophile serial killer, had wrecked the lives of at least half a dozen families.
To this day, when there is a ring on the doorbell or from the phone, just for a moment, Beryl wonders if it is her Gary?
“I’ve forgiven him for what he’s done to me, because when he passes life, he’ll have a lot more than me to contend with...but I judge myself. I can’t help it.
If I could take my whole insides out, give them a damn good wash, and put them back, I’d be fine, but I can’t do that.”
It is likely that Jebson will die behind bars.
Some believe he has other crimes, including killings, for which he should confess.
Predators like Jebson are mercifully exceptional. The press are not alone in focusing a lot of attention on the relatively rare phenomenon of ‘stranger-danger.’
In fact, sadly, the majority of child killing and abuse is perpetrated by the children’s parents or immediate circle.
The age group of children most likely to be murdered is below the age of twelve months.