Friday 9 December 2016

Bulger killer in jail over child porn concerns

Published 08/03/2010 | 05:00

John Venables: killed Jamie Bulger when he was just 10. Photo: Getty Images
John Venables: killed Jamie Bulger when he was just 10. Photo: Getty Images

James Bulger's killer, Jon Venables, was recalled to prison on suspicion of child porn offences, using drugs and on fears that he had revealed his new identity, it was alleged yesterday.

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The claims about the 27-year-old convicted murderer, made in a British newspaper, came after British Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused to disclose the reasons for last week's recall, saying only they related to "extremely serious allegations".

Senior politicians yesterday lined up to support the government's stance. The decision was backed by David Blunkett, who, as the then Home Secretary, informed MPs of the parole board's decision that Venables should be released in 2001.

Writing in the 'News of the World', he said: "The separation between judges and politicians is critical. The idea that we should abandon it in this case is understandable coming from James's immediate family.

"Even with a general election pending, the government cannot and must not bend on this -- not least because if Venables has committed a further crime, then that victim and their family deserve their day in court."

Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman declined to comment on the reason why Venables was returned to custody.

She told BBC1's 'Andrew Marr Show': "We don't want anything to happen whereby they can't be brought to a trial because it is said that they can't get a fair trial because all the media reporting has been prejudiced."

Jamie's mother Denise Fergus said on Saturday that Venables should lose his anonymity if he was charged with a new offence.

Her spokesman said: "If after that, depending on the outcome of the court case, the powers that be decide that he should have some new identity yet again, then we'll deal with that when we come to it.

"But she can't understand why he doesn't appear in a dock under his own name, if that's going to be where he ends up."

Mrs Fergus has demanded to know why Venables was put back in jail, and is meeting Mr Straw to discuss the matter.

The killer and his accomplice Robert Thompson were just 10 when they battered two-year-old James to death in Liverpool 17 years ago.

Nightmare

They were both released on life-long licence in 2001 with new identities, requiring them to obey strict conditions such as not contacting each other or returning to the city where James was killed.

Reports last week said Venables has visited nightclubs and a pop concert in Liverpool and even watched Premier League side Everton at Goodison Park.

Venables reportedly faces a looming return to court over the "extremely serious" allegations, causing a potential security nightmare for the authorities trying to preserve his life-long anonymity order.

Justifying his decision not to disclose details of Venables' recall, Mr Straw said: "I said on Wednesday that I was unable to give further details of the reasons for Jon Venables' return to custody, because it was not in the public interest to do so."

Ms Fergus (42) only found out about Venables' recall on Tuesday shortly before the news became public.

Irish Independent

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