Throughout sociological and biological theories affected the

Throughout
this essay, it will look at how positivism helps to explain the offending
behaviour that occurred in the Spalding murders. Focusing on how the
sociological and biological theories affected the actions and behaviour of Kim
Edwards and Lucas Markham. These two theories explain the offending behaviour
of the Spalding Murders due to the circumstances they encountered when they were
younger.

On the 14th
April 2016, Kim Edwards and her boyfriend Lucas Markham both aged 14 planned
and carried out a brutal attack on Kim’s mother Elizabeth and her 13-year-old
sister Katie. The court heard that Elizabeth was stabbed eight times, including
twice in the throat as a deliberate attempt to ensure no one heard her screams
or cries for help. Furthermore, Katie was stabbed twice in the neck with force
before being smothered by Lucas. There was blood spatter on the wall, blood on
the bed and on the floor, which shows the force of impact (Wright, 2016).
Following the killings, they remain in the house sharing a bath to wash the
blood off, had sex and watched four twilight movies before being arrested a day
later. They had planned to commit suicide, however decided against it and
stayed downstairs to eat ice cream. The court has heard that it was not mental
illness behind the brutal killings according to Prof Francis Pakes who is a
criminal psychologist, but the relationship between the young couple (Evans, 2017).
Thus, not having this intense, toxic relationship then the murders could have
been prevented. The teenagers were both found guilty of two counts of murder
and jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court in November. They must serve at
least 20 years before being considered for parole. However, judges reduced the
sentence to 17 and a half years before parole (Evans, 2017). The reason for the
sentence being reduced was due to the appeals made against the sentence given, which
was heard at the Court of Appeals a week later (The Court of Appeal Criminal Division,
2017).

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Positivism
is defined as a theoretical approach that arose in the early nineteenth
century. It argues that social relations and events, such as crime, can be
studied scientifically using methods resulting from natural sciences. (McLaughlin
& Muncie, 2006). Cesare Lombroso’s approach was to assume that being a
criminal was to be explained through identifying particular characteristics of
an individual. He believed that the cause of an individual’s criminal behaviour
lies in their genetic make-up, therefore they are born a criminal not made (Newburn,
2013). Positivist’s focus on Biological, Sociological and Psychological factors
that contributes to the problem of crime, focusing on criminals and criminal
behaviour. The biological positivism locates factors within the body, such as
genetics and Bio-chemical explanations. Thus, continuing and elaborating
Lombroso’s work looking into family and twin studies, Hormones, ADHD and
somatypes (Chamberlain, 1972). Sociological positivism places emphasis on
social factors of behaviour within the environment. Auguste Comte was the
founder of sociology by his explanation of positivism. He thought that natural
science and social science provides the means of obtaining knowledge of human
nature and society (Jones, 2006). Psychological approach acknowledges the importance
of environmental influences on learning, interpretations and analysis of
complex information (Cote, 2002). It is the process by how an individual learns
to behave under certain circumstances. Crime therefore does not, result from
rational decisions made by the offenders (John and Tierney,2009). The response
to crime through positivism would be treatment depending on the individual
circumstances. It focuses on reform, treatment and rehabilitation (Perrone and
White, 1997).

Within
positivism, biological and sociological approaches support the explanation of
offending behaviour that occurred between Edwards and Markham in 2016. The
theories show that they were both mentally capable of their actions but have
been affected by circumstances that has happened at in their childhood.

At a young
age Markham had a traumatic childhood. His mother died of leukaemia when he was
six years old and he was exposed to domestic violence from his father (Gordon,
2017). His behaviour became obsessive towards the incident making a connection
between sociological and his actions. The severity of what happened made Markham
behaviour and feelings towards individuals change. The significant need for
revenge and emotional connections, impacted in a change of personality and a fixation
of fulfilling every request made by Edwards. The intention to commit the crime
they organised, there must have been opportunities and means for revenge
(Quetelet, 1842). When committing the murders, he had a sense of calmness and
happiness surrounding the belief that he was protecting Edwards (The Court of Appeal Criminal Division,
2017). The lack of socialisation with other individuals, due to his
forms of disruptive behaviour that occurred at school, has affected his
interactions and social characteristics. He was becoming quieter and angrier
every day, excluding himself from any group interactions and disobeying orders
from teachers as well as children services. Experiencing significant disruption
and changes within care will influence his development. Markham found it
difficult to regulate and recognise his own emotions, which would lead to
aggressive and abusive language with threats of violence (The Court of Appeal Criminal Division, 2017).
A psychiatric report concluded that Markham was not suffering from mental
illness, although his mood instability was an important feature of his emerging
personality structure (The Court
of Appeal Criminal Division, 2017).

Edwards
hatred towards her mum increasingly grew over the years, due to her disapproval
of their relationship. She grew very jealous of her younger sister as she felt angry
and resentful towards her for being the favourite daughter. Markham was the
first person to understand her feelings towards her family, making him care and
treat her the way she has wanted to be treated (Evans, 2017). The sociological
impact this had on their personalities when they were around each other shows
the emotional closeness and intense attraction they had. Edwards believed she
was emotionally abused by her mother, which could explain why she had no
remorse or regret to what happened to her.

Edwards
claimed to be suffering from an abnormality of mental illness which impaired
her ability to be able to form rational judgments. However, was cleared of any
mental health issues by a psychiatrist.  She had a two-and-a-half-hour meeting
with consultant forensic psychiatrist Philip Joseph to assess her mental state (Wright,
2016). Thus, showing that she was mentally capable of her actions and knew of
the consequences that would occur afterwards. The biological theory shows that
parental care enhances the survival of individuals and the devotion between the
parents love for their child. Affection and devotion is the key to success and
a safe upbringing (Williams, 2008). During the assault Edwards accidently grabbed
her dying mum hand while she was struggling to breath, thinking it was Markham.
The shock of her actions made her rock back and forth on the floor repeatedly
saying it will soon be over (Evans, 2017). Thus, showing the strong emotion and
love she felt towards her mother.

Markham
hatred for Elizabeth intensified when she stopped him from seeing her daughter.
This was due to him being a bad influence and effecting the way she was behaving
(Gordon, 2017). There was a considerable amount of preparation and planning
into these murders. They were blinded by the desire to make themselves happy,
but they were not thinking of the consequences of what would happened after.
The bitter resentment was the motivation as well as the way they were brought
up. Ideas and methods of criminality
from other family members such as his father, makes it difficult for any member
to remain non-criminal (Williams, 2008). His
behaviour changed over time, triggering him to have a sharp mind, cold personality and lack of emotion. The behaviour is a
result of abnormality, that are determined by forces out of their control,
rather than the consequence of freely chosen action (Walklate, 2007). The
exposure to domestic violence and his father drinking behaviours effected his
emotional state. These experiences have been shown to have organic
neurochemical correlates in his brain, making it difficult to explain his rapid
emotions (The Court
of Appeal Criminal Division, 2017).

This essay
has discussed how positivism explains the offending behaviour of Kim Edwards
and Lucas Markham, in the Spalding murders. Linking their offending behaviour
with sociological and biological theories show that their actions were due to
pre-determined circumstances, that occurred in their childhood. Making them
born criminals, not made into criminals.