James Bulger's dad reveals his agony 20 years after murder
TWENTY years ago today, toddler James Bulger was abducted and murdered in one of the most shocking crimes in British history.
To mark the anniversary, James's father Ralph has given a rare interview in which he reveals the unending agony caused by the loss of his adored little boy.
In a moving interview, he begged people never to forget James, who was just a few weeks shy of his third birthday when 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables abducted, tortured and murdered the bubbly and much-loved son of Ralph and his wife Denise.
Ralph (46) has written a book about his son, his cruel murder and the long, hard fight that he and his family have weathered to try to get real justice.
The book, 'My James', lays bare Ralph's emotions, his struggles and his hopes for the future.
"I wanted this book to be all about my son, James. I wanted people to read about the little boy behind the headlines," Ralph explained.
"His pictures have been seen all around the world but no one really knew what he was like."
Ralph said his memories keep him going.
"He was the most boisterous and fun-loving kid you could imagine. He was racing around from the time he woke up in the morning to the moment he went to sleep.
"My favourite memories of him were when we were in the park together – playing football or pushing him in his favourite go-kart."
In his book, Ralph details the terrible events of February 12, 1993. He describes the searing pain suffered by Denise after James momentarily slipped away from holding her hand in a busy shopping mall in Bootle, Liverpool, and of his family's desperate but ultimately futile three-day search before James's mutilated body was found on a railway track in nearby Walton.
The impact took its toll on Ralph and Denise's marriage and the couple split soon after the birth of their second child, Michael, in December 1993.
As Thompson and Venables were juveniles when they were convicted, they were ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, the substitute sentence for life imprisonment. In 2001, the two were granted anonymity for the rest of their lives and freed from prison.