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Babes in the Wood

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Detective: How would you entice the child into the car then?...
Jebson: ‘Excuse me, little Miss, don’t I know you?’
“Don’t think so.”
What’s your name?
“Barbara...Mary...Carol...Susan...” ...whatever.
‘Oh, your so and so’s little girl. I know you. Do you want a lift?’
“Yes please.”
As we’re driving away...’Do you want some sweets?’
“Oh yes please”...
...so you go into shop with her and pick her up sweeties.
Detective: Yeah.
Jebson: You come out. She has already been paid.
Detective: Right...Payment in advance. Is that what you’re saying?
Jebson: Yeah. Payment in advance....
Ron Jebson describes his method and justification for child rape in a police interview
Jebson seems able to give seeringly honest and factually accurate statements in one breath, and then fantastical imaginings in the next. Some believe it is one of his many coping mechanisms for the horrors he’s committed.
He and detectives will get through many, many cigarettes before Jebson gives them the truth.
And he seems to enjoy discussing his previous crimes against children:
“We’d never had anybody who’d been so explicit and who was obviously out to shock and make us complicit in his world. And to see if we got some pleasure, perversely out of what he was telling us.”
Detective Chief Inspector Declan Donnelly
What Jebson didn’t know was the police had a criminal psychologist aiding them. He said that Jebson would only confess if they went through Jebson’s layers of fantasies. When Jebson tells them of his recurring dream, the psychologist says that Rosemary’s face is a cover for other attacks.
But detectives have to be very careful. Whenever they hint to Jebson that he may be responsible for the double murders of Susan and Gary, he reacts angrily. At one point, he rips off the microphone attached to him for recording and demands to go back to his cell.
What lets them delve further is by talking about the shelters and hides that Jebson had built in the woodlands as a child. These were fundamental fantasy features for Jebson. Once back on safe ground with the detectives, he would talk for ages and in great detail about building them. He expertly talks about which branches to use, willow, and how to tie them to the ground to make an arch:
Detective: When you’re in the hide, are you that little boy again?
Jebson: I’m that little boy again.
Jebson reveals a split personality. There is ‘little Ron’ and ‘big Ron’:
Detective: The Enfield kids have got ‘little Ron’s hallmarks all over them.”
Jebson: It still ain’t ‘little Ron’.
Detective: I don’t want ‘Big Ron’ to interfere with ‘Little Ron’
here...c’mon...
In August 1998, with no new evidence, the case is being wound down. Then on Monday 24 August Jebson calls Edmonton Police Station. He says he wants to confess.
During the four hour confession, Donnelly says Jebson is “virtually emotionless” as he recounts the killings:
“I am an animal. I will screw any little girl. I don’t care who she is or whose daughter she is.”
It is unlikely that Jebson has the sort of conscience to instigate his confession. Otherwise, he would have been unable to commit his offences repeatedly. Some have suggested Jebson was trying to impress what he counted as his peers, his fellow imprisoned paedophiles:
“...there’s a hierarchy amongst the sex offenders. I slightly get the impression that he was trying to impress those other predatory paedophiles about the extent of his offending behaviour.”
David Wilson, criminologist and former prisoner governor
Jebson states that he knelt on Susan’s chest when he strangled her. Susan’s body has been exhumed and subjected to further tests – Gary’s has been cremated - Forensic examination confirms her stomach was crushed and that the bleeding in her ribs was caused by blunt trauma. This is consistent with Jebson’s confession.
For some, the truth is even more painful than the not knowing:
“He had sex with him and strangled him whilst he was having sex with him. That, that, that was his sort of thing. That’s what he did to children. For me it’s been worse since I actually knew. I knew he’d been murdered. But I couldn’t cope with knowing that he’d been touched by somebody.”
Beryl Hanlon
Donnelly takes Jebson back to the copse where Susan and Gary had been found. At the edge of the copse, at the site of his killing, he details his crimes:
“I came up, up here, and I parked the car...I saw this open gateway...we went across these fields and saw this copse. Inside the copse my aggressive nature started showing. Susan didn’t want to play. Nor did Gary. Gary sat there not knowing what to do. So I had Susan’s jeans down and unders. I was sitting on her stomach...middle of nowhere, no one can hear their screams. After I finished with Susan, Gary said he wants to go home and I said you’re going nowhere and he went for me so I hit him. I then raped him. I stayed there having me fun...until 2, 3 o’clock in the morning...They were both dead...i put them close together...and left...I was a bad evil Ron that night.”
But ‘bad evil Ron’ Jebson was too scared to actually enter the copse again.
He is superstitious.
He believes that the spirits of Susan and Gary are in there waiting for him.