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James Bulger's killer Jon Venables to leave jail
Jon Venables, one of the killers of British toddler James Bulger, is to be freed from prison.
Venables was 10 when he and Robert Thompson, also 10, beat James to death and left him on a railway
line in February 1993.
Venebales, now in his 30s, was freed in 2001 but jailed again in 2010 after he was found downloading
and distruibuting child porn.
James' mother Denise Fergus tweeted her response to the parole decision.
"Venables is getting released. Just don't believe what I've got 2 go through. AGAIN."
James' father Ralph Bulger said through his solicitor that he was "disappointed and dismayed".
Ms Fergus had attended the May parole hearing by videolink and demanded a full examination of Venables' time outside prison.
Sky News reports that at the time of his second arrest, Venables was found to have developed a
drug and alcohol problem, started behaving anti-socially and revealed his real identity to friends.
It was found he downloaded 102 indecent images of children and had been distributing these images.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The re-release of life-licensed offenders is directed by the
independent Parole Board once they are satisfied they can be safely managed in the community.
"Their life licence lasts for the rest of their lives, and they may be recalled to prison at any time
for breaching their licence conditions.
"Additionally, they will be subject to strict controls and restrictions for as long as their risk requires them."
Mr Bulger, who earlier this year released a book called My James, spoke of how, in his darkest moments, he blamed
his former wife for letting their son out of her sight - a reaction which now makes him feel deeply ashamed.
He also said he downed two bottles of whisky a day to blot out the pain and that he thought about killing
himself in the wake of the tragedy.
News Limited Network (5-7-2013)
The secret Bulger Tapes
It’s a haunting image that still has the power to deeply disturb two decades on: a toddler in a busy shopping centre,
hand in hand with one of his killers – who is just 10 years old.
It’s now 20 years since two-year-old James Bulger was tortured and then murdered by the two schoolboys who lured him away
from his mother, but the case is still making headlines. In this major Sunday Night investigation, we reveal secret tapes that
were not played at the trial and were hidden from the watching world.
The boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, are now adult men: both 30 years of age, their identities were hidden and protected
for life by the British government when they were released after eight years in a juvenile detention centre.
Venables reoffended after his release, and is now applying for parole after being convicted of child pornography offences.
Sunday Night speaks to James Bulger’s mother, Denise Fergus, who tells us why she believes Venables should never be released again.
We also speak to other key figures in the case including Phil Roberts, the former Liverpool Detective who arrested and interviewed the killers.
James's mother Denise has set up a charity, James Bulger House, to give kids in need a holiday break.
James Bulger’s father Ralph has written a book, My James, along with journalist Rosie Dunn. In this haunting book, Ralph pays tribute
to his son, and also describes how his world fell apart in the days and years that followed his death.
Sunday Night Program (17-3-2013)
View Tapes -
James Bulger Killers - Robert Thompson and Jon Venables
The following note along with the artist impression, was sent to MAKO anonymously from the UK (Jan 2010)....
Note- The James Bulger killers brutally tortured and killed 2yr old James Bulger.
The poor mother has given up the fight for justice for her son, defeated by a criminal
justice system institutionally biased in favour of the offender and against the victim.
The boys who abducted the toddler, sexually tortured him and beat him to death with bricks.
They served less than eight years in youth custody before given one to one schooling, a better
education than poor James could have ever have had. On their release they were given anonymity for life,
and are resettled under assumed names in Australia....
Donate to The James Bulger Memorial Trust
Join the The James Bulger Memorial Trust on Facebook
James Bulger's brother on how his mother still won't let him out 20 years after horrific murder of toddler
ON the rare occasions that 19-year-old Michael Fergus goes out with his friends on a Saturday night, his mother Denise is never
far from his thoughts.
He knows she worries, so he sends countless text messages, telling her where he is, who he's with, that he's safe and what time he'll be home.
"I hate seeing my mum upset, that's the worst thing. I don't like it at all," says Michael. "If I stay out a bit later than I said I was
going to, I feel guilty."
Denise, 45, adds: "He'll text me to say, 'I'm all right Mum, don't worry', but I can't sleep until he comes in. If he's ten minutes late,
I start to panic."
At an age when most young adults are embracing independence, Michael says he has never travelled alone on a bus or train.
He's never ventured beyond his home city of Liverpool without a member of his family by his side.
Rather than go out, Denise prefers Michael to invite friends to the safe confines of their home, which is protected
by state-of-the-art, infra-red CCTV cameras and security lights.
Unemployed since he finished college last May, he is even driven by his parents to and
from job interviews, instead of Michael risking even the shortest journey on his own.
It sounds a rather claustrophobic existence - but Michael accepts it without complaint.
'I understand why my mother is the way she is,' he says simply.
This is because Michael is the younger brother of murdered toddler James Bulger.
His protected existence is the legacy of a childhood spent in the shadow of one of the most disturbing murders in British history.
Having lost one child in incomprehensibly brutal circumstances, Denise Fergus has made it her mission to make sure it can never happen again.
Listening to Michael describe his life in his first ever interview - which he has given to mark the 20th anniversary of his brother's
murder - it seems the cruellest of ironies, that it is he who has paid for James's death with his freedom, rather than the two ten-year-old
schoolboys who killed him.
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who abducted James - one month short of his third birthday - from a shopping precinct
in Bootle on Friday, February 12, 1993, were released on life licence in 2001 after serving eight years for the murder,
the horror of which has not diminished with time.
James's mutilated little body was found on railway tracks in Walton, Merseyside, two days after his disappearance - on
Valentine's Day. He'd been tortured and beaten with bricks and iron bars. He died from head injuries.
His killers were given new identities at the British taxpayers' expense after their trial. Venables subsequently re-offended.
In July 2010, he was sent to an adult prison after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children.
He has now applied for parole and is expected to be released again soon.
Michael knows he could walk past either of his brother's murderers in the street, strike up a conversation and not know who
they once were, but he tries not to think about that, or them, too much.
"It upsets me to think that two ten-year-olds could do that to my brother. I will never understand it and I can never
forgive them, but I am not consumed with hate or thoughts of revenge," says Michael.
"I just want to get on with my life and look to the future, not the past. I don't want to sink to their level."
Born to Denise and Ralph Bulger ten months after James's murder, Michael was less than a year old when his parents'
marriage broke down. Michael was two when Denise met electrician Stuart Fergus, 37, whom she married 15 years ago. They
have two further sons Thomas, 14, and 13-year-old Leon.
A large portrait of James takes pride of place in the living room of the Ferguses' home.
Given the physical similarities between James and Michael as toddlers, it's impossible not to look at Michael's
face and imagine how James would have looked had he been allowed to grow up.
But Denise says it is her younger son Thomas who now reminds her most of James in looks. He also shares James's
cheeky temperament, while Michael has always been quiet.
Michael says;"'I have never felt second best to James. Mum never made me feel like that. She has never preferred
one child over another. We all feel equal."
Denise adds: "Michael is Michael. His milestones are his own and I try not to imagine every milestone James missed,
otherwise it would take over my life."
Michael often imagines what their lives would be like now if James were alive.
"It's devastating to think I have an older brother I'm never going to see, never going to meet or talk to.
I can never have a drink with him or do all the normal things brothers do," says Michael.
"I never knew James, but he's been with me throughout my life. Mum's always talked about him and still does,
but we talk about the happy memories she has of his short life, not what happened to him, because she doesn't want to burden
us with that darkness.
"Every Christmas we go to James's grave and dress up a tree alongside it with lights. It's me who always puts a star on the top.
I really look forward to it, because it's one time I get to be with my brother. He's never been forgotten."
It's perhaps no surprise that Michael is as protective of his mother as she is of him. Over the years, he's witnessed her
acute distress. Not only are there the constant reminders of James's murder, but Denise's ongoing campaign for justice has
amounted, time and again, to nothing.
The original trial judge ordered Thompson and Venables to be detained until adulthood. This was later increased by the then
Home Secretary, Michael Howard, to 15 years, but a European Court upheld the original eight-year sentence, ruling the juveniles
had been denied a fair hearing in an adult court.
Denise tried and failed to stop the killers' release on life licence, warning they'd re-offend. Most recently, she was distraught
to learn Thompson and Venables were in line for payouts after their phones were hacked by the now defunct News of the World. She's
launched an e-petition against compensation payments to convicts.
"It's heartbreaking for me to see Mum angry or upset,' says Michael, whose stepfather goes through newspaper reports
with a black marker pen, scoring out details he thinks will upset Denise.
"Now and then it did bother me that I couldn't do what other kids could. When I asked my mum if I could go to the shops with
my mates, she'd always say no, which seemed a bit unfair, because it was only round the corner.
"Sometimes I was tempted to cycle off round the block, but I didn't dare because if Mum noticed I was gone for just a couple
of seconds, she'd have had the whole street out looking for me.
"I knew it could send her mind somewhere else, thinking what happened to James could happen again. We've never argued over it,
I've never felt the need to rebel because I love her. I couldn't have wished for a better mother."
20th anniversary a difficult time for family
With the 20th anniversary of James's murder this week, it is a sensitive and difficult time for the family, as
Denise is dragged back, once more, to the past.
Less than 60 seconds was all it took for Thompson and Venables - two truants from dysfunctional, broken
families - to lure James away from his mother's side. She briefly let go of his hand to take out her purse in a butcher's
shop, only to turn round and find him gone.
CCTV cameras captured heartbreaking images of Denise's trusting, vulnerable child clutching Venables' hand - Thompson a few
paces ahead - as he was led out of the precinct.
Dragged for 3km through the streets, James sobbed for his mother, who was frantically searching the shopping centre.
His body was found by teenagers on the afternoon of Sunday February 14, 1993. They initially thought it was a doll.
James had suffered 42 injures and died sometime before he was run over by a train.
"It may have happened 20 years ago, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. One second James was by my side and the next he was
gone. The worst part was not knowing where he was or what to think," says Denise.
"When we found out from the CCTV footage that two young boys had taken him, I took it as a good sign. I thought
they probably had James in a garage somewhere and were feeding him sweets and Mars Bars and passing him off as their little
brother. I couldn't believe two young lads would hurt a child. I thought I'd get him back."
When police finally informed Denise and her then husband Ralph that they'd found James's body, Denise refused to accept it.
To this day, she still doesn't know the full extent of his injuries.
"Even after the police told me they'd found his body, I still believed I would get him back. I was in complete
denial," says Denise, who launched the James Bulger Memorial Trust in 2011, a charity which provides free holidays
for bereaved children, youngsters who are crime victims or who have done good for others.
"I was numb. It was as if someone had put a black veil in front of my face. I couldn't see beyond that veil.
Voices made no sense to me. I didn't know what was happening around me. I was in a world of the unknown.
"The police tried to protect me, but I wonder now if they did me any favours because I'm still finding out things about how
James died 20 years later, which isn't right. It's upsetting because I don't know what's true or not. That's the part that really
hurts deeply, that's the part that never heals.
'I know James suffered, but I try to think that he didn't suffer too much - but reading between the lines I think he did, didn't he?
I don't like to look back. I'm very happily married now and I have three gorgeous kids. I don't want to go back to those dark days. I
want the light to still shine.
'If I thought all the time about what Thompson and Venables did to James, then part of me would die and they would have killed
me too, and I can't let that happen because I have three boys who need me.'
Denise says she would not be alive today had she not fallen pregnant with Michael in those desperate weeks after James's murder.
Her son became her sole reason for living.
'James was taken in the February and Michael was born that December. I'd just lost a baby and I found myself holding another,' she says.
"Michael got me through the darkest days of my life when I didn't want to live. He gave me the strength to carry on. He wasn't a
replacement baby, because I could never replace James. Michael may have looked like James when he was born, but he was his
own person with his own character. Caring for him gave me a big lift. He needed me and I had to be there for him."
Daily Mail (9-2-2013)
Listing Australian Convicted Paedophiles/ Sex Offenders/ Child Killers..
FREE Public Service..
James Bulger killer's Aussie dream
Killer Jon Venables is glad photos of him have leaked online because he thinks it will get him a new life in the sun.
Images of James Bulger’s murderer as an adult have been published on the net.
But instead of fearing reprisals, Venables, 28, sees it as good news and wants to be relocated to Australia or the United States.
The hated killer is serving a minimum two-year sentence for child porn offences and will get a new identity when he is finally released.
Home Office sources said “the ball is already rolling” on the new ID and officials are looking at where they can relocate him.
Venables was living in a Cheshire town, which the Daily Star Sunday is banned from identifying, between 2001 when he was released from his first jail term and his arrest last year.
But his new identity is so widely known there that he will have to live elsewhere if he is ever released again.
A source at the top-security jail where he is being held said the pervert has bragged he will be able to live out his days on the beach.
The insider said: “He has convinced himself that his face is now too well-known for him to be relocated in Britain.
“He always said he wanted to move to Australia one day and he thinks that day is closer than ever now.
“He has a fairly low grasp on reality so he’s not thinking about if Australia will accept him.
“He’s decided that it’s a goer and he said he’ll push for it.
“Personally, if I were him I’d worry more about ever convincing a parole board to free him than the climate he’ll be living in on the outside.”
Meanwhile, security around Venables has been stepped up at his jail as warders fear inmates will now be able to recognise him.
The insider added: “Whenever he leaves his housing unit he is surrounded by several staff rather than just one officer. He is moved as little as possible.”
Newspapers are banned from printing any new pictures of Venables or his accomplice Robert Thompson.
They were just ten when they murdered James, two, after taking him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993.
In Britain, one of the killers of two-year-old James Bulger has become
a father, it was reported yesterday.
Robert Thompson, now 23, has been living under a secret identity since his
release from jail nearly five years ago and his girlfriend is unaware
of his involvement in James's murder.
Adelaide Advertiser (3-1-2006)
Boy's Killers Call For Privacy
LONDON: Child killer's of a
toddler, Robert Thompson
and JonVenables, both now 18,
want Britain's High Court to
protect their privacy.
Solicitors acting for the pair,
who tortured and murdered
two-year-old James Bulger in
1993, want an injunction to
prevent their new identities
from ever being made public.
But solicitor Robin Makin, for
the victim's father, Ralph
Bulger, said the family was
bitter at the move.
"Where has the protection
and privacy been for the family
of this little boy who was
killed? These two boys have
had everything handed to
them on a plate while the real
victims have been left to suffer," he said.
Mr Bulger has
vowed to fight the move.
Adelaide Advertiser (2000)
Killers Will Have No Peace, Says Toddler's Mum
The killers of British toddler
James Bulger have been granted
anonymity for life to protect them
from revenge attacks.
But James' mother, Denise Fergus,
last night vowed that they would never
be allowed to live in peace.
She told them: "You will be haunted
and hunted for the rest of your lives."
A High Court judge ruled that the
new identities to be given to Robert
Thompson and Jon Venables should
be kept secret forever when they are
released from detention this year.
The unprecedented order was made
to protect the right to life of the pair,
who were facing a life on the run from
the dead boy's family and vigilantes.
The High Court Judge, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss,
imposed an open-ended injunction on media in England
and Wales to prevent the publication
of the killers' new names, their whereabouts,
photographs, and descriptions
of their appearance. The order extends
to media in Australia and elsewhere to
the world who have offices in London,
but there are suggestions that the
pair's whereabouts could be released
on the Internet.
Thompson and Venables, both 18,
will be given new identities, new passports, new health cards, help with
relocation and "pre-histories" so that
their identities withstand the scrutiny
of future neighbors or colleagues.
They have also reportedly been offered the chance
to emigrate, although
it is unlikely that they would sever
close ties with their families and
relocate to Australia or New Zealand.
They hope to win parole in the next
few months following a ruling last year
that they have served the minimum
tariff necessary under their life sentences - eight years.
A parole hearing
is scheduled for the next few weeks.
Thompson and Venables were 10
years old when they lured two-year-old
James from a Liverpool shopping
centre and battered him to death in
1993. They are now being prepared for
life in the outside world and are regularly taken on supervised shopping
trips, visits to the theatre and holidays
by the sea.
They have had private tuition, unlimited visits from their families and
access to email and the Internet. But
Thompson reportedly lives in fear of
being recognised and suffered a panic
attack during a supermarket outing.
"It is constantly on his mind. He lives
in a state of permanent fear and apprehension about being recognised
and what his future holds," a worker
at his detention centre said.
He talks tentatively of the future,
telling workers he wants a family of his
own and wants to be the "perfect dad".
"He has said on many occasions that
he wants to be able to live a relatively
normal life and be a better father than
his own dad was," The Sun newspaper
quoted a worker as saying.
Dame Butler-Sloss said she was convinced
that the lives of Thompson and
Venables would be at risk if their
identities and whereabouts were disclosed, and she was "compelled" to
take steps to protect them, even
though they were now adults.
"I have come to the conclusion that
I am compelled to take steps in the
almost unique circumstances of this
case to protect their lives and physical
well-being," she said.
Although the crime of these two
young men was especially heinous,
they did not thereby forfeit their rights
under English law and the Convention
on Human Rights."
A furious Denise Fergus said the pair
would be found. "Every minute they
will have to look over their shoulders.
Even if they live on top of a mountain
at the ends of the earth they will never
be able to relax. That is some comfort
to me - to know they will never be able
to live in peace."
Vanishing Act Of Unique Prisoners
From the moment Venables and Thompson, then
aged 11, went their separate
ways to secure units in November, 1993, they have
been unlike any other young prisoners.
The child-killers are already
living under assumed names.
One source says Venables has
absorbed his new identity so
well ne feels a completely different person, able to look at
Jon Venables as someone else.
When they are released some
time this year, on a date that
may never be made public.
they will probably be given yet
another new identity, further
distancing themselves from
any link to their hideous crime.
Their life at large will match
the uniqueness of their life inside.
They are to receive new
National Insurance numbers,
birth certificates, National
Health Service cards, passports and driving licences.
It is believed to be the first
time killers have been given
such well-planned and expensive help in disappearing.
Adelaide Advertiser (10-1-2001)
Child Killers Denied A Fair Trial, Court Rules
TWO boys who killed Liverpool
toddler James Bulger did not receive
a fair trial, the European Court of
Human Rights ruled yesterday.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
are serving minimum 15-year sentences
for the murder which shocked millions
around the world in February, 1993.
The pair snatched James, 2, from a
shopping mall, dragged him for 3km,
attacked him and left his battered body
on a railway line.
They were sentenced by an adult
court in November, 1993, to be jailed
at Her Majesty's pleasure, with minimum sentences of eight years.
But lawyers for Venables and
Thompson, who were 11 when on trial,
told the European court in Strasbourg
that the Preston adult court venue and
wide publicity impinged on the pair's
rights to a fair trial.
The European Commission of Human Rights last March ruled that the
boys were denied a fair trial because
of the court's intimidating adult
nature. It was also open to the public.
The commission also criticised the
role of former Home Secretary Michael
Howard, who in 1994 raised the minimum sentence to 15 years from the
eight years set by the trial judge.
Yesterday, the court said Mr
Howard's decision was a breach of the
boys' human rights. But it rejected a
claim their treatment was "inhumane
and degrading". The court does not
have the power to overturn the boys'
convictions or order their release.
Adelaide Advertiser (1999)
Tot Killers May Be Sent Here
ROBERT Thompson was
one of two boys jailed for the
horrific bashing, sexual torture
and murder of toddler Jamie
Now there is strong
speculation the 17-year-old
could be freed and sent to start
his new life in Australia.
Robert Thompson began life anew in a secure
prison unit in February
He was infamous for his
role in the shocking murder
of Jamie Bulger.
Fellow inmates were
aware of the details of the
crime, as was the rest of the
world. Thompson suffered
taunts from the other inmates and had
the walls to attack him. His
mother tried to
help by telling
him to walk
away or reply
to other young
"Well, you're no
crime was so
of the details
sickening to report.
was in charge of the case
and broke his silence after
reports Thompson and his
partner in the crime, Jon
Venables, could be released
within three years.
The retired police officer
said he would never forget
the butchery inflicted on
Jamie Bulger's tiny body, or
the horror in the eyes of
Mr Kirby vividly recalled
finding Jamie's body
dumped on a railway track,
sliced in two by a passing
train after being dumped
there by the two young
killers. Jamie's face had
been smashed with bricks
and bludgeoned with an
iron bar. "His head was like
pulp," Mr Kirby said.
His face also was
splattered with paint
thrown at him and he was
naked from the waist down.
It was also suspected he
was sexually molested In a
way that would have caused
Mr Kirby said he believed, despite the latest European Court ruling
to the contrary, the British trial was fair. He believed the pair should
remain in jail until at least 21, but said it would be inhumane to keep the
boys locked up for life.
"They did something
indescribably horrible. But
they were only 10 years old."
The British justice system
is now faced with the question of how best to give
Robert Thompson and
John Venables a second
chance. Unlike Venables,
Thompson has responded
well to rehabilitation and
his supporters believe he
chance at a
sent to Australia with a new
The turnaround in
surprised observers of the case.
Throughout the trial he,
the one who
emotion and on
videotaped evidence he appeared to lie his
way through police interviews. He also blamed
Venables for the crime.
The breakthrough in
came in 1995 when he finally
admitted to playing a 50:50
role in the murder and to
These days Thompson is
one of the oldest members
of the unit and has adopted
a leadership role.
He is also reportedly
bright, artistically gifted
and has carefully cultivated
his interest in design, art,
textiles and catering.
A girl who entered the
unit briefly for a minor offence is understood to have
developed a relationship
with him and the pair have
been exchanging letters.
She is believed to be
Thompson's first girlfriend.
It would be virtually impossible for either
Thompson or Venables to
lead a normal life in Britain.
Officials are refusing to verify reports that plans are
being drawn up to give
Thompson an assumed
name in the hope of a new
life in Australia.
It remains to be seen
authorities would, or
should, be willing to help.
Adelaide Advertiser (26-12-1999)
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