THE former boyfriend of the mum bludgeoned to death by her own 14-year-old son is a well-known Hucknall man, the Dispatch can reveal.
In a case that has shocked the nation this week, Jacqueline Bartlam (47) was brutally murdered by her son, Daniel, at their home on Georgia Drive, Redhill, near Arnold.
Jacqueline’s ex-partner was 45-year-old Simon Matters, who is a former commercial manager, public relations officer (PRO) and matchday-programme editor at Hucknall Town Football Club.
Mr Matters, of Farleys Lane, spent time with the boy and shared meals with him at his home. He said: “I don’t think he was mad, but he was bad.”
Baby-faced Bartlam, who has since turned 15, has been sentenced to life in detention after a jury found him guilty of murder. He must serve a minimum of 16 years before being considered for parole.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Bartlam battered his mum on Easter Monday (April 25) last year in a gruesome attack that mirrored a storyline on the TV soap opera, ‘Coronation Street’.
He then doused the body in petrol and set his mum and the home on fire in an attempted cover-up. The teenager admitted the killing but denied murder.
Mr Matters, who lives on Farleys Lane, has been been thrown into the national spotlight because of the case. He has featured in interviews with the media and has even signed a contract with a national Sunday newspaper for an interview that will appear this weekend.
He says the boy was obsessed with horror movies, such as the ‘Evil Dead’ series, since the age of eight. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Matters said: “These movies would probably scare adults. But he seemed to thrive on them.”
Mr Matters became prominent in Hucknall during two spells with The Yellows. He was programme editor from 1994 to 2002 and then the club’s PRO and first-ever commercial manager for five months in 2008.
In his interview with the BBC, he added: “Daniel used to go to high street stores and buy these films. There must be some way youngsters can be stopped. You can’t go into a DIY shop, for example, and buy a knife if you don’t look 21.
“Any normal-thinking person wouldn’t have done what he did unless he’d got something imprinted on his brain from what he had watched on TV.”
During the case, it was revealed that Bartlam had written a screenplay about a boy with his name who killed his mum and got away with it after torching the house and claiming an intruder was responsible. This was the same tale he offered to detectives in real life.
Mr Matters was not in a relationship with Mrs Bartlam at the time of her death but they were still very good friends.
He told the BBC that Bartlam could be intelligent and bright but that there was something about the boy that disturbed him.
“He would just destroy things,” added Mr Matters. “He used to write stories but they were macabre. They were about fighting and knives and killing. He would draw a picture of knives or blood dripping from a knife.”
Nottingham Crown Court lifted an order preventing the naming of Bartlam.
The prosecution disclosed that the murder happened after the boy woke up late at night and asked his mother where she had put his new trainers.
It turned into a row and Bartlam flew into a rage. He claimed his mother called him a “freak”.
The court heard that after hitting his mother seven times, Bartlam dropped a lump hammer on the floor that he claimed had been left by a murderous intruder. They boy then wiped the real weapon, a claw hammer, with cleaning fluid and hid it in his bedroom.
He returned to pad his mother’s body with paper before setting it on fire.
He fled the burning house with his younger brother and the family dog. Mrs Bartlam was so badly burned she could only be identified by her dental records.
Police found the written plot and violent TV clips from shows, including ‘Hollyoaks’ and ‘Emmerdale’, on Bartlam’s computer.
He had researched websites entitled ‘People Who Get Away With Murder In Shows’ and ‘How To Get Away With Murder’.
Bartlam had also developed an obsession with ‘Coronation Street’ character John Snape, who killed a stalker with a hammer.
Mr Matters gave evidence in court and described Mrs Bartlam as “placid and sensible”.
He said her relationship with her son was “very strained” and described an occasion when they had an argument that resulted in the boy hitting himself and a wall.
The court heard that Bartlam underwent a mental assessment just six weeks before the killing and was deemed to be of little or no threat to himself or others.
Bartlam claimed during the trial that he was physically and verbally abused by his mother.
But in passing sentence, Mr Justice Flaux rubbished this and told him: “This was a gruesome and senseless killing, made all the more shocking because at the time you were only 14. What your motive really was remains clear.”