October 2002

Boy’s killer jailed for life

A 23-year-old man has been jailed for life for the murder of a young boy whose body was dumped on a golf course near Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Ronald Mariner stabbed seven-year-old Ryan Mason five times, battered him with a hammer and strangled him in the living room of the boy’s home in Hawker Avenue, Bolton, in February.

Mariner then wrapped Ryan’s body in a black plastic bin bag and transported it in a wheelie bin before dumping it at Farnworth golf course.

Mariner, of Johnson Fold, Bolton, had denied murder.

During the trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jurors heard how Mariner was a boyfriend and distant relative of the youngster’s mother, Lynn.

He later tried to blame her for the killing.

The court was told jobless Mariner had a chilling record of violence in the years before Ryan’s murder.

This included the sustained torture of an 11-year-old boy just a month before his fifteenth birthday, for which he received a two-year supervision order.

Alarm bells

He later attacked and fractured a baby’s skull when he was 18-years-old.

He was sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders’ institution but released on licence after 14 months.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Dees of Greater Manchester Police, who led the investigation, said Mariner’s offences should have “set loud alarm bells ringing”.

Mr Dees called for a system to be put in place to monitor high-risk offenders, like Mariner, with histories of violence against children.

Extreme violence

He said that if Mariner’s offences had been sexual he would have been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and his movements monitored.

He said: “There needs to be a better system of monitoring those assessed as high risk, as Ronnie Mariner clearly should have been.”

But because extreme violence was involved, he said Mariner was left unsupervised once periods of probation and release on prison licence were completed