The Babes In The Wood (Epping Forest, 1970) | Ronald Jebson

(From left: Susan Blatchford and Gary Hanlon. Right: Ronald Jebson) 

Ronald Jebson has to be one of the most sickest and most evil people I have ever read about or researched. He was a monster and in his own words he told the police ''I'm an animal, I will screw any little girl. I don't care who she is or who's daughter she is.'' 

This case is very disturbing and involves the sexual assault and murder of children so please be aware. I can understand if you would like to skip this post. 

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I don't think there's a word in the English dictionary to describe how evil Ronald Jebson was. He was born in 1939 and was an adopted child who had an abusive childhood. He would grow up to be one of the most disgusting and evil paedophiles the UK has ever seen.

He was obsessed with children and in 1968, he was jailed for sexually assaulting a 6 year old girl. He spent just two years behind bars. It would have been better for everyone if they had locked him up and thrown away the key but they let him out back onto the streets in 1970 and it didn't take him long to strike again.

In 1970, he was to commit another disgusting and evil crime which would go unsolved for 30 years. Ronald abducted two children, Susan Blatchford (11) and Gary Hanlon (12) and took them to a copse in Epping Forest, England. There, he subjected them to the most horrifc nightmare, he raped and strangled both children before leaving their bodies in the copse with their arms around each other. 

Because of the condition of the area where the children were left, it was very hard to get access to them. Their parents were beside themselves with worry and the police together with volunteers searched high and low for the children. A lot of mistakes were made early on in this investigation and one of them was down to police officers who'd taken dogs to that area and were said to have found nothing at the time.

Ronald was arrested by police but not for the murder of Susan and Gary, he was arrested for sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy and sentenced to three years in prison. 

During the search for Susan and Gary the police interviewed nearly 15,000 people and searched over 4,000 houses and garages. The lead investigator of the case was the legendary, Leonard ''Nipper'' Read who was previously responsible for the conviction and downfall of the famous London gangsters, The Kray Twins.

78 days after the children had gone missing, their bodies were found. The bodies were badly decomposed and animals had been around them. It must have been a horrifc sight for the man who had discovered the bodies as he was out walking his dog.

Because of the condition of the bodies and the lack of forensics that we have now, it was very difficult to establish what happened to Gary and Susan. because of the way the bodies were found with their arms around each other, the press nicknamed the case ''Babes In The Wood'' which often gets mixed up with another case which occurred 16 years later (2 nine year old girls were murdered in a park in Brighton, their killer, Russell Bishop was originally acquitted but later found guilty in 2018 in a second trial).

Gary and Susan's family refused to take the explanation by the police that the children had simply fallen asleep and died of hypothermia. Items of the children's clothing were missing and there was no way they would run away from home, especially as the weather had been freezing and they had no money or food on them, they weren't even wearing warm enough clothes. 

For years the families battled to try and keep the case open but it seemed the police had forgotten them and the case slipped away. Gary and Susan's mothers struggled to get through the days, weeks and years, not knowing what really happened to their children and knowing that the person who murdered them was out there somehwere getting away with it. 

In 1973, Ronald was out of prison again and went to stay at his childhood friend's (Robert Papper) house. Robert lived with his wife and 6 children. Ronald became fixated on his 8 year old daughter, Rosemary and one day he kidnapped the little girl from school. The poor child trusted him and knew him as ''Uncle Ron''.

He sexually assaulted the little girl before strangling her and dumping her body. He was jailed for life in 1974 and his connection to the 'Babes In The Woods' murders was still not known.

30 years later whilst Ronald Jebson was serving his life sentence in the maximum high security prison in Wakefield, England (nicknamed, Monster Mansion) he made a phonecall to the police claiming to have some information about the Babes In The Woods murders.

The police did a series of interviews with him in which he claimed that the children were murdered by the parents of his victim, Rosemary Papper. It was a sickening accusation to make and the police could see though his sick mind games.

Ronald Jebson thought he was clever and above other people, even the police, He had no respect or feeling for anyone. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, he described himself as an animal, a monster which is probably about the only true thing he ever said in his life. The police used the interviews to try and get as much information out of Ronald as they could which included his thoughts and actions as a disgusting paedophile.

Ronald Jebson told the police that he would target a child and pretend to be a nice old man, he'd pretend that he knew the child and ask them if they wanted some sweets from the shop. The child would pick their sweets and to Ronald, this was their ''payment''. He told police that the sweets were payment for the sexual abuse that was about to occur. The interviews are very distirbing and I take my hat off to the police officers who had to sit across the table and keep their cool as he sat there and bragged about raping children.

Obviously his accusation against the parents of Rosemary Papper came to nothing and he was found guilty again and was give another two life sentences.

A few years later, he ended up confessing to the murders and the police took him back to where Gary and Susan's bodies were found. He refused to go into the woods, claiming that he was superstitious and felt the ghosts of Gary and Susan.

Ronald Jebson died at the age of 76 in April of 2015 from kidney failure. He had the best treatment and care in his final months. In a final act of disrespect against the families of his victims, he demanded that they not be notified of his death as he didn't ''want to give them the satisfaction of knowing he was dead''.  The press found out about a week later and it was in the newspapers that the families found out.

Ronald Jebson was every parent's and child's worst nightmare and one of the most evil individuals to have walked this earth.

My heart goes out to the familes of his victims and to the familes that had to wait 30 years to find out what had really happened to their children. It was even worse for them when the details of what he actually did to them was revealed. I didn't want to put the full details here because they are very disturbing but at one point during the ordeal as Susan was being raped, 12 year old Gary tried his best to stop him and protect Susan to which Ronald struck the child and then sexually assaulted him.

Ronald's disgusting actions destroyed the lives of so many children and their families, this was a man (I don't even think he deserved to be called a man) who brought nothing but pain, suffering and misery to this earth and I just wish that he could have been put away years ago so that no children were ever harmed.

It's a horrible and heartbreaking case.

RIP to Gary, Susan and Rosemary.

Thank you for reading my latest true crime case, see you in the next one x

Further reading & sources:

Ronald Jebson | Independent Newspaper Article
Ronald Jebson | Murderpedia
Babes In The Wood | BBC News
Ronald Jebson | Real Crime Documentary
Babes In The Wood | Wikipedia

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1 comment:

  1. This has to be in the top ten of the most sicking monster in the UK. How the police kept it to gether and not beat the hell out of Ronald. If I was the police I would of dragged him in to the woods to see the ghost's of Susan and Gary. And for Robert Papper to let Ronald to stay with them did they not know why he was in prison for. The police should of told the family's and let them know that Ronald had died and not for them to find out by reading it in the paper.

    RIP Gary, Susan and Rosemary.

    They maybe gone but they will not be forgotten. There memories will live on. 🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️