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Darren Vickers: Driver who murdered Jamie Lavis, 8, and then moved in with his parents likely to walk free

Darren Vickers, now 56, has served 25 years of sentence in the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of 8-year-old schoolboy, Jamie Lavis
Darren Vicker killed Jamie Lavis, 8, in 1997  (Truly Criminal/YouTube screenshot)
Darren Vicker killed Jamie Lavis, 8, in 1997 (Truly Criminal/YouTube screenshot)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND: Darren Vickers, a bus driver who committed one of Greater Manchester's most heinous child murders in 1997, will be considered for release from his life sentence in February, 2023. Vickers, now 56, has already served 25 years of sentence in the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of eight-year-old schoolboy, Jamie Lavis of Openshaw, whom he groomed and kidnapped after boarding his bus at around 10.30 am near Ashton Old Road on May 5, 1997.

It remains one of the "darkest days" in Manchester's criminal history, with the heinous crime compounded by what followed, as the killer would move in with the victim's parents, Karen and Johan Lavis to try to replace Jamie, with the knowledge that he was the last person to have seen him. He would sleep on their bed as the couple would accommodate him by sleeping on the couch and even made public appeals on television as he spend days searching for the "the child" to keep a tap on police investigation. Jamie's remains were only found two years later in Undergrowth near Reddish Vale.


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Vickers was jailed for life and ordered to serve 25 years in prison. While sentencing Vickers to life, Mr Justice Forbes had said, "These are truly wicked crimes. Jamie's final epitaph was spoken by his grandmother, Barbara Lavis, who said, 'he was streetwise but he was a lovely little boy.'" Adding, "Jamie's brief life was cruelly and prematurely brought to an end because he had the tragic misfortune of boarding your bus at around 10.30 am on Ashton Old Road on May 5, 1997. Thereafter you carefully groomed this little boy so he stayed on your bus for the rest of the day. You did this for your own base motives and intended to, and did, sexually abuse this little boy and then killed him and abandoned his body in Reddish Vale. You unclothed his body and left it naked on the ground."

'Faking It: Tears Of A Crime', a 2018 TV documentary, examined how the manipulative killer attempted to get away with his heinous crime. According to experts, Vickers attempted to replace Jamie by infiltrating the family and keeping tabs on the police investigation. Body language expert Cliff Lansley said, "Here we have a viper in the nest. The perpetrator has implanted himself in the family and had the nerve to have his picture taken with them, without a top as well. How bizarre is this?"

The statements and interviews Vickers, of Gorton, made during the search for Jamie were analyzed in the documentary which ultimately blew his cover. Mr Lansley shares that Vickers unconsciously revealed himself through his telling body language after he repeatedly shook his head and shrugged his shoulder when speaking to TV crews which indicated that he was lying.

Vickers, who at the time was married and had two children as per the investigators who worked on the case could never be rehabilitated as he was a very manipulative person. "Vickers will be a danger to children for the rest of his life," 60-year-old Asif Hussain, the liaison officer who worked weeks alongside Jamie's parents, said. "He was a married man with two children of his own, and yet he was able to take the life of another child. He can never be rehabilitated in my opinion," he told, as per the Daily Record.

Vicker was arrested on October 1997 for Jamie's abduction. "We've been out 24 hours looking for Jamie," the brazen killer said in one appeal.

The report quotes a spokesman from the Parole Board as saying, "An oral hearing has been listed for the parole review of Darren Vickers and is scheduled to take place in February 2023." The panel will have huge range of evidence of the original crime, risks, and any evidence of behavior change, as well as explore the harm done and the impact the crime has had on the victims.