'WICKED and perverted'. Those were the words used to describe Ronald Jebson as he was jailed for life for murdering two Enfield children in the 30-year-old Babes in the Wood mystery.

Jebson, 61, already serving life for the murder of a child in the 1970s, looked on stony faced as Judge David Stokes QC passed sentence at the Old Bailey yesterday.

It is three decades since Susan Blatchford, 11, and Gary Hanlon, 12, were found dead in Epping Forest almost three months after going missing.

Susan, from Riley Road, Enfield Highway, and Gary, from Marrilyne Avenue, Enfield Lock, were both pupils at Albany School when they disappeared.

The victims' families sat in court to hear how Jebson had abducted the youngsters on March 31, 1970 as they played nearby.

After plying Gary and Susan with a cocktail of alcohol and cannabis, Jebson sexually assaulted and strangled both Susan and Gary before leaving them huddled together in a hide he had built in the woods.

Their bodies were so badly decomposed that the cause of death was never established.

Judge Stokes said: 'What they went through before they died does not bear thinking about.

'The only point that can be made on your part is that you have owned up to what you did.

'That said, you are a truly wicked and perverted man.'

Jebson contacted police in 1996 claiming that he was at the scene when the children died but was not responsible.

Police took him back to where the bodies were found in dense copse near Waltham Abbey but he refused to go near the area.

After the investigation re-opened, Susan's body was exhumed from her grave in St James' cemetery, Ponders End, for DNA testing. Gary had been cremated.

Jebson eventually confessed to the double murder in 1998.

Mr Richard Whittam, prosecuting, said: 'He suggested his motive for now revealing these matters was his conscience. He said he had been evil over years.'

Jebson, also known as Ronald Harper, has a string of child sex convictions and was already serving life for the murder of eight-year-old Rosemary Papper in 1974.

He carried out the Babes in the Wood murders just 29 days after being released from Wandsworth Prison for an indecent assault on a six-year-old girl in December 1968.

Dressed in a purple tracksuit and sporting a grey beard and ponytail, Jebson was lead away to begin two life terms.