The Coronation Street Killer: Daniel Bartlam

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16th February 2023  •  4 min read

On Easter Monday of 2011, a fire was reported in Nottingham. After the flames were extinguished, the body of a woman was discovered...

The Coronation Street Killer: Daniel Bartlam

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In the early morning hours of Easter Monday of 2011, a report of a fire came in to firefighters in Nottingham, East Midlands, England. They were alerted to a home on Georgia Drive, Redhill, Nottingham. When they extinguished the flames, they found the lifeless body of a woman. It was 47-year-old Jacqueline Bartlam. Her two sons had managed to escape from the inferno unharmed. 1

Jacqueline was transported to the medical examiner’s office where it was discovered that she hadn’t died in the fire. She had been bludgeoned to death. Detectives determined that the fire had been purposefully set in an attempt to conceal the murder. They immediately interviewed Jacqueline’s two sons. Her 14-year-old son, Daniel Bartlam, claimed that an intruder had broken into the home and bludgeoned his mother to death before setting the home on fire. Jacqueline’s other son, however, denied this version of events.

Detectives were suspicious of Daniel, and he eventually broke down and admitted that he had killed his mother. On the night of the murder, he had armed himself with two hammers, and crept into the bedroom of Jacqueline. He smashed her seven times in the face and head with a clawhammer. He then wrapped her body in a newspaper, doused it with petrol and set it alight. He then wiped the weapon he had used to commit the murder with cleaning fluid and hid it in his bedroom. He left the second weapon by the bedroom window to give the impression the intruder had dropped it while fleeing the scene.

The home quickly went up in flames, and Daniel grabbed his younger brother and escaped. He momentarily returned to rescue his pet dog. Daniel claimed that his mother had called him a “freak” but further investigation uncovered that the murder had been meticulously planned over the course of several weeks. On Daniel’s computer, detectives found that he had written a story about a character that shared his name. In the “story”, the character killed his mother in circumstances that were eerily similar to the murder of Jacqueline.

The story detailed the crimes of “Daniel Bartlam 1994 – 2047, the longest serving male character to be on the show.” In the story, the character of Daniel was involved in robbery, vandalism and grievous bodily harm. The story read in part: “The only place he couldn’t get away with his bad deeds was with his mother Jacqui. So one evening he made it look as though there was a break-in and murdered his mother with a hammer and then set the family home alight.”

Before the murder was carried out, Daniel deleted the story but detectives were able to retrieve it, and they were struck by the similarities.2 It was as if Daniel had written down his plans in great detail, in what he professed was a fictional story.

Detectives continued in their investigation. They were keen to uncover a motive behind the senseless murder. They discovered that Daniel had stored a number of violent storylines from dramas that had aired on television. These included Trial and Retribution, Emmerdale, and Hollyoaks. He was particularly interested in a storyline on Coronation Street, in which the character, John Stape, killed a woman with a hammer and then burned her body in the wreckage of a smashed tram.

In the months before the murder, the local authority had raised concerns about Daniel’s behaviour. He had confided in a counsellor that he had been hearing voices, and even more ominous, those voices had been telling him to hurt people around him. He was examined by several experts, and they all concluded that Daniel did not pose a risk to either himself or those around him.

In 2010, he had been reported missing by his mother and was discovered by police just wandering around Nuthall. In May of that year, he had been referred to a school counsellor after an incident in class wherein he became upset and started shouting and screaming at his tie, which he called “Fred.” He also told classmates that Fred was trying to hurt him.3

In February of 2012, Daniel Bartlam went on trial for the murder of Jacqueline. He claimed that the killing was not murder because he had “lost self-control.” According to Daniel, he and his mother had gotten into an argument over a pair of trainers, and then he killed her after losing self-control.

The prosecution refuted this, and presented evidence to show the murder had been pre-meditated. They revealed that in the lead up to Jacqueline’s murder, Daniel had looked up on his computer terms such as: “How to get away with murder” and “People who get away with murder in shows.”

The prosecution disclosed details of the story that Daniel had written, and said that the boundaries between real life and fiction for Daniel had become “tragically blurred.” Det. Ch. Insp. Kate Meynall, who had led the investigation, told the jury about the brutality of the murder. She stated: “The level of violence, the degree of planning, and the extent of his lies is not only shocking but also chilling.” It was also revealed that after Daniel’s arrest, when he was on remand at a secure unit, a resident annoyed him. He commented: “I could kill her – just like I killed my mum.”4

Jacqueline’s boyfriend, Simon Matters, also testified during the trial. He told the jury that from a young age, Daniel had been allowed to watch graphic horror movies. He later said that he had noticed a change in Daniel’s behaviour in the lead up to the murder as well. He commented: “He’d have plastic boxes full of figures. Star Wars and Dr. Who characters. But he’d just urinate in the boxes. He also defecated all over the bedroom and in the boxes and hid towels and stuff that he’d wiped himself with.”

The jury unanimously found Daniel Bartlam guilty of the murder of Jacqueline Bartlam. The sentencing phase was to follow, and poignant victim impact statements were presented. Jacqueline’s parents struggled to hold in their emotion as they said: “We find it so hard to explain what we are going through. There are no winners here because not only have we lost Jacqui, we have lost Daniel too. The most difficult part for us, and something that only Daniel can answer here, is ’why?’”5

He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 16 years. While handing down the sentence, Judge Julian Fox referred to the crime as “grotesque” and “senseless” and said it seemed as though Daniel wanted to “get away with the perfect murder.”6

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  1. The Independent, 28 April, 2011 – “Boy Aged 14 Charged with Woman’s Murder”
  2. Evening Standard, 2 April, 2012 – “Coronation Street Inspired Boy to Kill Mother with Hammer”
  3. Nottinghamshire Live, 18 October, 2020 – “The Chilling Story Behind the Nottinghamshire Boy Who Killed His Own Mum”
  4. The Daily Telegraph, 3 April, 2012 – “Teenager Used Coronation Street Plot as Plan to Murder His Mother”
  5. The Independent, 3 April, 2012 – “Boy, 15, Jailed for Copycat Killing of Mother”
  6. Agence France-Presse, 2 April, 2012 – “15-Year-Old British Boy Gets Life”


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1 year ago

Absolutely awful!! I cannot imagine the last moments of this lady’s life. Her own child killing her!

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