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James Bulger’s family in legal bid to reveal details about killer Jon Venables | UK News

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James Bulger’s relatives are calling for information they say is easily available on the internet about one of the toddler’s killers to be made public. 

James’s father and uncle are challenging the terms of a lifelong anonymity order granted to Jon Venables in 2001.

The killer was released on licence after serving eight years in a secure children’s home for the kidnap, torture and murder of two-year-old James Bulger and has been living anonymously since.

Venables and Robert Thompson, both 10 at the time, snatched the toddler from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside in 1993.

James’ body was later found on a railway line – he had been beaten to death with bricks and a metal bar.

James Bulger, who was aged two when he murdered by 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson in Bootle, Merseyside in 1993
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James Bulger was two when he was beaten to death

Venables was recalled to prison for two years in 2010 after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing indecent images of children and breaking his parole conditions by returning to Merseyside.

He was released with a second new identity, before being recalled to prison again last year over indecent images of children.

Lawyers for Ralph and Jimmy Bulger say something had “gone wrong” with Venables’ rehabilitation and they should be able to scrutinise his handling by authorities.

They say the brothers are not currently able to do this as the terms of the injunction prevent them from discussing information which is readily available online.

James Bugler seen on CCTV being led away before his murder
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James Bulger seen on CCTV being led away from a shopping centre before his murder

The Bulgers’ solicitor, Robin Makin, told the High Court: “This a very high-profile matter and indeed it is one where the current situation is unprecedented, in which we now have a child murderer who has, as an adult, committed two sets of serious sexual offences and is undoubtedly a danger to the public.”

The injunction against identifying Venables carries a punishment of up to two years in prison.

Mr Makin said “no lessons have been learned” and Venables had been “trained by the state to be dishonest” in hiding his identity.

“The sad reality of the gruesome murder of James Bulger is that it did have sexual themes and that is quite a feature, given what has happened,” he said.

Robert Thompson
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No challenges are being brought against Robert Thompson’s anonymity

The court was told the Bulgers do not want the anonymity order to be dismissed altogether, but are asking for some information to be allowed to be revealed without threat of prosecution.

The information includes details of the killer’s former identities and addresses up until 2017 and the prisons where he was held.

In 2013, two men who posted images on social media which they claimed were of Venables and Thompson were given nine-month sentences, suspended for 15 months, after the attorney general launched an investigation.

No challenge is being brought against the anonymity granted to Robert Thompson and James’s mother, Denise Fergus, is not involved in the proceedings.

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