Wednesday 23 October 2019

James Bulger’s father loses court bid to make details about killer public

A worldwide order made in 2001 has allowed Jon Venables to live under a cloak of anonymity since his release from a life sentence.

Two-year-old James Bulger (inset) is led to his death by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Two-year-old James Bulger (inset) is led to his death by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Jon Venables (PA)

Sian Harrison

The father and uncle of murdered toddler James Bulger have lost a High Court bid to have information about killer Jon Venables made public.

An order made in 2001 has allowed Venables to live under a cloak of anonymity since his release from a life sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of the two-year-old in February 1993.

Lawyers for Ralph and Jimmy Bulger argued that certain details about the killer and his life are “common knowledge” and easily accessible online.

They asked the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane to vary the order so that it does not cover this information.

James Bulger, who was two years old when he was murdered (PA)
James Bulger, who was two years old when he was murdered (PA)

But, in a ruling on Monday, the judge refused to change the terms of the order in the way requested by the Bulgers.

The court previously heard the information includes details of Venables’s identities and former addresses up to 2017 and the prisons where he has been detained.

Anyone sharing such information under the order could face prosecution for contempt of court.

The toddler was killed by Venables and Robert Thompson, who were both aged 10, after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.

They were both granted lifelong anonymity by a High Court judge and have lived under new identities since their release from custody.

The court order was amended in relation to Venables after he was convicted of further offences in 2010 and February last year.

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