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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Bulger killer 'made trips to Liverpool'

Jon Venables has made several trips to the city where he murdered toddler James Bulger since being released, it was reported today, despite a ban on him doing so.

The 27 year old has visited nightclubs and a pop concert in Liverpool and even watched Premier League side Everton at Goodison Park, the Daily Mirror said.

But he has reportedly not visited Bootle, the city district where he and Robert Thompson snatched James 17 years ago and took him off to his death.

After being released on licence and with a new identity in 2001, Venables was ordered not to return to Merseyside, among a series of other conditions.

The further revelations about his behaviour come after it emerged this week that the killer was recalled to custody for breaching his licence.

Ministers in Britain are refusing to give details about what he did, despite growing demands for more information.

Victims' rights champion Helen Newlove, whose husband Garry was kicked to death by a gang of yobs outside their home in Warrington in 2007, said it was cruel not to tell James Bulger's parents the full details.

She urged the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to think again after he and Justice Secretary Jack Straw declared the new allegations faced by the little boy's murderer must remain secret.

Mrs Newlove said: "It is another case of the victims not coming into it and the criminals being protected.

"What Jack Straw has said is ludicrous. Venables has breached his parole and should be staying in jail.

"Venables and Thompson have been given everything on a plate and now we're not even allowed to know the circumstances surrounding this - it is a disgrace."

Venables was taken back to prison last week after reportedly fighting with a work colleague and developing a drug problem.

There are fears that the recall could see his new identity being discovered, because of fellow prisoners' suspicions about special treatment.

In 1993 he and Robert Thompson, both just 10 at the time, led two-year-old James from a Liverpool shopping centre on a two-mile walk to his death.

They battered the little boy and left his body on a railway track for a train to cut it in two.

Yesterday the Gordon Brown said that although he understood the public "outrage" surrounding Venables' licence breach, the Government would not comment on individual cases.

He said: "What we are talking about is a totally abhorrent crime that happened some years ago but that still, rightly so, disgusts and offends the British people and I can rightly understand the public outrage, even after so many years."

He added: "But the public know that we cannot comment on individual cases that are going through the system and I think the Justice Secretary explained the particular constraints in this case.

"But I want to be absolutely clear that what matters here is that the justice system is allowed to run its course and that justice is done, whatever wrongs are committed."

James's mother Denise Fergus and her ex-husband only found out about Venables' recall hours before news broke in the media on Tuesday.

She has said the public deserve to know what Venables had done, and was said today to find it "insulting" that Gordon Brown was "hiding behind the excuse" that he could not comment on individual cases.

Yesterday in the Commons the Tories demanded more details be disclosed, claiming the information was in the public interest.

Shadow Commons leader Sir George Young asked Harriet Harman: "Do you agree with me and apparently the Home Secretary that unless there are very good reasons for keeping this information secret, it is in the public interest to know why Jon Venables has been sent back to prison?"

The Commons leader replied: "The question is the matter of the court order requiring anonymity, and I think the processes around that have got to be in compliance with the court order, which required that his identity should remain secret."

A flurry of charities and opposition politicians also joined demands for greater rights and better treatment for James's family.

Lyn Costello from Mothers Against Murder said: "I think the family has a right to know, but not necessarily the press and the public.

"Of course the family should be told because it adds to their stress."

Venables will appear before a Parole Board hearing within 28 days to examine why he was taken back to jail.

A spokesman for the Parole Board said it was likely the result of the hearing would be released because of the high-profile nature of the case.

But the reasons for the recall were unlikely to be made public at this stage, he said.

Press Association

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