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Saturday 30 August 2014

"Jon Venables is a danger to the public" - James Bolger's mum makes emotional plea to keep son's killer behind bars

Mike Hornby

Published 22/05/2013 | 14:08

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Denise Fergus leaves Burlington House in Crosby, Merseyside.
Denise Fergus leaves Burlington House in Crosby, Merseyside.

THE mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has urged a parole board not to release killer Jon Venables.

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Denise Fergus said Venables, 30, who had his initial parole revoked in 2010 after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children, remains a danger to society.

Mrs Fergus addressed the parole board earlier today by videolink from Probation Service offices near her home in Merseyside.

During the live, two-way video link, two-year-old James's mother made a Victim Personal Statement and then held discussions with the board members, who were meeting at an undisclosed location elsewhere.

Mrs Fergus was earlier greeted with applause from nearby office workers as she arrived, accompanied by her husband Stuart and solicitor Sean Sexton.

One office worker shouted: "You tell them Denise," as she walked into the building for the hearing, which lasted around an hour.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Fergus said: "I still believe Venables is a danger to the public.

"He has proven that his rehabilitation didn't work by the offences he has committed since he murdered James.

"That's why I am here today, I want to do my best to keep him where he is."

Mr Sexton said James's mother had been given assurances from the board that it will "comprehensively investigate" the issues she raised.

He said: "Denise believes the initial parole board hearing in 2001 was inadequate.

"There was a rush to declare Venables rehabilitated because so much had been invested in him by those supervising him.

"Denise believes an inconvenient truth was swept under the carpet."

"Breaches of his licence conditions were not acted upon. Continuing psychiatric supervision, which was a condition of his licence, was abandoned - partly over a dispute over who was to pay for it," the solicitor added.

"Venables has a track record for manipulating those responsible for supervising him.

"Denise believes he must not be released while he poses a danger to the public."

Venables was aged ten when he and classmate Robert Thompson abducted and murdered two-year-old James in February 1993.

They were jailed for life but released on licence with new identities in 2001. Venables was jailed for two years following his conviction in 2010.

Mrs Fergus said: "I don't think he's learned from killing James.

"We have got to put to him that he can't get away with the things he is doing and if he does do wrong in future he will do more time in prison and not get away with it."

She said today's hearing was "very difficult", adding: "I was sitting in the room and I was reliving it all over again.

"But it's my choice. I'm James's mum and James hasn't got a voice so I've got to be a voice for him.

"If it takes for the next 20 years, I don't care where I've got to go or what I've got to do, if there's a fight for James I'm certainly going to do it."

The parole board has given no indication of how long they will take to consider Venables' application.

James's father, Ralph Bulger, will address the panel by videolink from Liverpool Crown Court later.

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