Loretta Jones is to be revealed as a child killer in 'Hollyoaks'.

In a controversial storyline - set to be aired in the Chester-based soap at Christmas - the exotic dancer's past will be exploited, in which she and a friend murdered a young tot when they were 12.

"We appreciate the episodes deal with a sensitive subject but it has been thoroughly researched.

The pals were then sent to prison and now live under false identities - which they were given when they were released.

Loretta (Melissa Walton) has now made a life for herself in Hollyoaks and is stunned when her accomplice Chrissy (Amber Hodgkiss) arrives, using her old name Joanna, and aims to make life hell for Loretta.

A source told The Sun newspaper: "We appreciate the episodes deal with a sensitive subject but it has been thoroughly researched. The drama is about how Loretta reacts to Chrissy's arrival back in her life and how she copes with all the memories coming flooding back.

"She's tried to move on, but Chrissy won't seem to let her."

The plot echoes the James Bulger murder, in which 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables killed two-year-old James in Merseyside in 1993.

They were sent to juvenile prison before being controversially released in 2001, with new identities.