A nation sheds its tears for Jamie England mourns murdered toddler

March 02, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

LIVERPOOL, England -- The parents of murdered toddler Jamie Bulger chose the music of Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson to salve England's national wound at a funeral Mass.

Recordings of "Tears in Heaven," Mr. Clapton's tribute to his own dead son, and Mr. Jackson's "Heal the World" brought tears to the eyes of 350 people who jammed Sacred Heart Church yesterday for the requiem service and another 600 who stood outside for two hours in a bitterly cold wind listening to loudspeakers.

Hundreds more, many of them weeping women and children, lined the 4-mile route from the church to Liverpool's Kirkdale cemetery, where mounted police and uniformed bobbies kept crowds at bay during a private graveside service.

The funeral was broadcast live by BBC Radio and Television across England, where most flags were flying at half-staff.

The memorial Mass came 15 days after the mutilated body of the 2-year-old boy was found near railroad tracks in Liverpool. Two 10-year-old boys have been charged with torturing and killing Jamie after leading him out of a shopping mall where he had wandered away from his mother.

The killing has enraged the nation and sparked near-riots when the accused boys appeared in public. They are due again in Youth Court tomorrow. Jamie's parents have appealed for calm while the families of the accused boys have been forced into hiding.

At yesterday's service, four men, including Jamie's father, Ralph Bulger, carried his small white coffin inside the church. His stuffed teddy bear and rabbit were next to the coffin on a tiny chair his father had made for him.

The mourners included many Liverpool police officers who helped hunt for Jamie's killers.

While some people in Britain are calling for severe punishment, even hanging, for the accused boys, the Rev. Michael O'Connell, nTC pastor of Sacred Heart, stressed during the service that some positive things have arisen from the tragedy.

"Something in James Patrick has touched the whole world . . . The death of an innocent little child is causing us to do something about it, to make life better," he said.

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