For decades, humanity has been in the midst of a long-standing debate to determine if it is nature or nurture that most affects childhood development.
There are great arguments to be made on either side of the debate, but every so often something comes along that clearly indicates the influence of one side. Take for instance the story of one English teenager who’s own home life was so bad, she had to find companionship elsewhere: with the wrong sort…
Lorraine didn’t have the most stable of upbringings. Her father and mother were cantankerous with one another at even the best of times. Eventually, all of her father’s bad behavior and rampant alcoholism proved to be too much for her mother and the two split up. Lorraine was 12 years old and was now her father’s caregiver.
Desmond, her father, was still a “hopeless alcoholic” and was incapable of taking care of himself. Now, Lorraine was a good girl and she loved her father deeply, it’s why she chose to live with him, to help look after him. Yet in addition to being somewhat altruistic, she was also a manipulative, cunning teenager, and was more than willing to take advantage of her father’s trusting nature…
Unfortunately for Desmond, Lorraine’s initial good intentions turned to abuse rather quickly. She would beat him and force him to allow her to stay out late and avoid school. Soon enough, Lorraine fell-in with a number of folks in the street-drinking community and as a result, she and her father began to live a sort of feral lifestyle.
Lorraine eventually befriended the much older, Paul, who was 42 and dating 41-year-old Rosalyn. Both of the older folks were heavy drinking members of the street-drinking community in Ipswich, England. Paul was even sort of de facto leader of the group. They taught the 13-year-old Lorraine all sorts of things that a child ought not to learn…
That Squalid Life
The teen, or preteen rather, stopped going to school. She and her father lived in various squalid flats, evading social services the whole while. Lorraine became more and more stubborn, wilful, and as manipulative as she was bright. But Paul and Rosalyn were a ticking time bomb, and she wouldn’t find that out until it was far too late.
Fight Broke Out
In August of 2012, Paul and Rosalyn got into a particularly intense argument. He accused her of hitting his dog and then allowing that dog to bite a child while out in the town centre. Rosalyn, meanwhile, was angry about what they were doing to Lorraine and that they were allowing her to drink with them…
Calling the Authorities
A fight broke out when Rosalyn told them that she was going to the authorities about the girl’s welfare. That seemed to be the last straw for both Paul Clarke and Lorraine Thorpe, who decided that they weren’t going to let Rosalyn get away with what she had done.
Over the course of the next few days, Lorraine and Paul inflicted unimaginable torture on poor Rosalyn. They whipped her with a dog chain and set her hair on fire. They punched and kicked her and rubbed a cheese grater and electric fan across her face. As if that weren’t enough, they also poured literal salt in all her wounds…
Once More, With Feeling
The villainous pair beat their former friend for four days before taking her back to her own flat. Four days after that, Clarke and Thorpe returned to finish the job. They kicked and stamped her to the brink of death and dumped her lifeless, dying body onto her bed. She died the next day.
Police discovered her in her apartment a few days later and had no idea how she had suffered so many broken bones, abrasions, cuts, scrapes, and infections. Meanwhile, Thorpe and Clarke continued to live their drunken lifestyle, unimpeded by the do-gooder notions of their former associate…
Lorraine Thorpe, who was young and stupid, boasted to a friend that she had was the one who had stamped on Rosalyn Hunt’s head. Her father Desmond overheard the conversation and browbeaten and addled as he was, still knew that he had to call the police. His daughter had helped kill a woman.
Clarke knew that they couldn’t let Desmond go to the police, just as they couldn’t have allowed Rosalyn. He convinced his young protege of the same thing. Despite her love for her father, Lorraine helped Paul beat and then eventually smother Desmond Thorpe to death. And if you think that’s bad, there’s more…
At the time of his death, Desmond Thorpe was in his late 40’s, unable to walk or do anything to help himself. He was also a hopeless alcoholic and completely at her mercy. This made their murder of him all the more despicable.
Lorraine wasn’t done bragging about her deeds just because she went to jail either. While she awaited her day in court, she spoke to a prison padre about her father’s murder on the anniversary of his birthday. Lawyers claimed that the evidence was inadmissible as it constituted a confession, but it definitely didn’t do anything to help her case…
The judge who presided over the case has spoken openly about what an unusual case it was. “Her story is an appalling one and her case is rightly described as wholly exceptional,” he explained.”She spent all her time with middle-aged alcoholics to whom violence was the norm” as they fought each other “and stole to get the drink which they craved”.
Ultimately, that same judge decided that Ms. Thorpe had played a “full part” in the murder of Ms. Hunt, a mother of two. Her attempts to cover it and the murder of her father up, were enough to render both she and Paul Clarke guilty. Lorraine was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years and Clarke, 27 years. Thorpe’s sentence made her a sort of celebrity in the company of many modern British criminals…
Nature vs. Nurture
Many have described her case as one of nature vs. nurture, stating that if she had been cared for and not led astray, she may have turned out differently. That because of her upbringing, she had been left with no real understanding of what right and wrong really were.
On September 1st, 2014, a mere four years into his incarceration, Paul Clarke committed suicide in his prison cell. As for Lorraine, at the time of their 2010 murder convictions she was believed to be Great Britain’s youngest double murderer. She joins a veritable who’s who of English killers…
Thorpe joins a small group of Britain’s most evil women killers which include the likes of Mary Bell, who was 11 when she strangled two boys in Newcastle, Sharon Carr was 12 when she stabbed 18-year-old Katie Rackliff. Myra Hindley who murdered two boys and helped murder a third.
Then there’s Joanna Dennehy, the psychotic mom who ended up killing a number of her personal friends and contacts in the town of Cambridgeshire, England, in March 2013. She and her two male accomplices dumped all the bodies in the same roadside ditches and Joanna eventually received life imprisonment for the crime.