Entertainment

Thursday 17 October 2019

Tina Malone says court battle ‘destroyed’ her life in emotional TV interview

The Shameless actress cried as she told of the ‘repercussions’ of her legal battle.

Tina Malone said she has learned her lesson (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Tina Malone said she has learned her lesson (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Actress Tina Malone has said she feels “destroyed” as she broke down in tears on This Morning after avoiding jail for sharing an alleged picture of James Bulger killer Jon Venables online.

The Shameless star, who admitted in court to breaching a worldwide ban on publishing anything that purportedly reveals the new identity of Venables, said the repercussions of her actions have been “horrendous on my life”.

Last week, Malone was handed an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay £10,000 towards the costs of the case.

She told the ITV programme that the fine means she is unable to take her daughter to Disneyland Paris this summer, but that she has learned her lesson.

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Tina Malone leaves the High Court after avoiding jail (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

In a tearful appearance, Malone, 56, said she is a “technophobe” who has “never owned a computer” and did not realise that her actions were illegal when she shared a Facebook post that included a photograph purporting to be of Venables and his current name in February last year.

Malone said she saw the post one night, adding: “I just happened to believe that anything that’s on the internet, whether that’s girls beating someone up or terrorist stuff or whatever, it’s legal. It isn’t.”

Asked by host Phillip Schofield if she had not seen similar stories about the dangers of sharing things on social media on the news, Malone said: “Of course, I’m not that daft, I just thought if something was out there because of the current situation of the person involved, I just didn’t realise what I was doing was illegal.

“I didn’t mean to incite or provoke any violence or anything and it was over a year ago, and the repercussions have been horrendous on my life.”

Malone told the programme that just prior to making the post on Facebook, she had “just come out of a breakdown in the January, I was on heavy anti-depressants, that’s no excuse, and I’ve had a difficult 18 months”.

She said a recent job on a TV drama – her first acting job in four years – has “saved my life”, but that she is still unable to take her daughter on a trip away this summer due to the fine.

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Jon Venables, left, and Robert Thompson (PA)

Through tears, Malone said: “Over the last 12 months my husband lost his job, I hadn’t worked and so we were going through a really difficult time, and it was my daughter’s fifth birthday in December, and I’d promised we’d take her to Euro Disney this June.

“It was the third year running we couldn’t have a birthday party for her, even on her fifth birthday, and so I’d just got this new job in January, a new drama, great scripts… and then I got this through the post,” she added, referring to the High Court summons for the contempt of court proceedings.

She said: “I thought I was going to lose the job and then, obviously, I was so sorry. And then I got a £10,000 fine, which means we can’t go to Euro Disney, so I’ll be lucky to even go to the Disney shop to buy her a Belle or Rapunzel.”

Malone said it was “all my fault” and that she has learned her lesson, but that she feels she has let her family down.

An injunction was made “against the world” in 2001, which bans the publication of anything that purports to reveal the identities of Venables and Robert Thompson.

They have been living anonymously with new identities since being released from a life sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of James in 1993, when they were aged 10.

PA Media

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