6. When Children Kill: Should we imprison kids?

6. When Children Kill: Should we imprison kids?

By BBC Radio 5 Live

NOTE – Discussion of this case was correct at the time of broadcast. An update – which includes the exoneration of the three boys – is outlined below.

Two six-year-old boys and a 5-year-old girl, Silje, are on a playground in the Norwegian town Trondheim. The next day Silje is found dead. The boys had punched and kicked the five-year-old girl before stripping off her clothes and leaving her to die. How does this Norwegian case, and it’s response, compare to the famous case of James Bulger in the UK?

At what age should we be held responsible for our actions? Nations struggle to decide how to answer this question, and some community responses shatter our expectations - for better or for worse.

In this episode of Bad People, presenters Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen discuss the age-old debate of nature versus nurture.

Warning: This episode contains strong language and references to murder and child abuse.

Update: This case was reopened after Norwegian broadcaster NRK released a documentary series called ‘Murder in the Sledge’. It in, the investigation revealed that the boys were never formally questioned, and thus they were never interviewed by police while being fully informed of their rights. The resulting criticism led to the public prosecutor ordering a resumption of the case. On February 17th 2023, the public prosecutor stated that “on the basis of the investigation that has been carried out, we have not been able to conclude who inflicted violence on Silje.” The state concluded that the three boys who were blamed for the death of a five-year-old girl in Trondheim in 1994 are “to be considered innocent.”

Presenters: Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen

Producer: Louisa Field

Assistant producer: Simona Rata

Editor: Rami Tzabar

Music: Matt Chandler


Archive credits: This episode contains audio from police tapes.

Heart UK