Tuesday 12 December 2017

Bulger family 'filled with terror' as Venables to be freed from jail

Venables, aged 10, at the time of his trial for the murder of James Bulger
Venables, aged 10, at the time of his trial for the murder of James Bulger

David Barrett and Martin Evans

TAXPAYERS in Britain will foot a massive bill to give James Bulger's killer a new home and identity after the Parole Board approved the release of Jon Venables – ignoring the wishes of the murdered toddler's parents.

Venables, now aged 30, will be released from jail just over three years after being sent back into custody for distributing child pornography.

But Ralph Bulger, James's father, said the family was "filled with terror" by the "reckless" decision. He warned that allowing Venables to live freely under a false identity had been shown to be deeply flawed.

Venables and Robert Thompson were 10 years old when they abducted, tortured and killed two-year-old James in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993, leaving his battered body on a railway line.

The youngest convicted murderers in modern English history were released on licence in 2001 after being granted lifetime anonymity by the courts to protect them from attack.

In order to keep Venables's true identity secret, the killer will require full identity documents, training on his fake 'back story' and support from probation officers, as well as a new home funded from the public purse.

It is estimated that it costs the British taxpayer £250,000 (€290.000) every time someone is given a new identity.

Venables has already been rehomed and given a new identity on three previous occasions after his cover had been blown.

His parole was revoked in March 2010 and he was jailed for two years after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

He admitted possessing the child pornography, which showed girls as young as eight being raped and other abuse of children aged around two.

The court heard that he had posed online as a 35-year-old married woman to trade images with another paedophile.

Earlier this year, James's mother, Denise Fergus, and Mr Bulger both addressed Venables's parole hearing and pushed for him to remain in prison.

Robin Makin, Mr Bulger's solicitor, said yesterday: "For Ralph and his family, the living nightmare continues and is exacerbated by the problems now created by the reckless decision to free Jon Venables without any publicly disclosed safeguards.


"The authorities have already experimented with Jon Venables living a lie and it did not work. The decision to release Jon Venables is misguided and fills Ralph with terror."

Mrs Fergus said: "Venables has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted and that he is a danger to the public and himself. He is still a huge risk and they should not let him out after just three years.

"They should keep him locked-up for a long time yet."

A spokesman for the Parole Board said: "We've had confirmation that all parties have been told and we can confirm that it was a release decision. He will be released." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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