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Pair sentenced after sharing ‘photos of James Bulger killer’ online | UK News

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Two people who shared information online believed to be about one of toddler James Bulger’s killers have been spared jail.

Richard McKeag, 28, and Natalie Barker, 36, were both given suspended sentences after they admitted breaching an injunction meant to stop Jon Venables’ identity becoming public.

At the High Court, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Mr Justice Warby, handed McKeag a 12-month jail sentence, while Barker got eight months.

The terms were suspended for two years.

Lord Burnett said that, were it not for their personal circumstances, the defendants would have been sent to prison immediately for their “serious” breaches of the injunction after posting pictures and other details.

There is a court order in England and Wales banning the publication of anything that reveals the identities of Venables and fellow killer Robert Thompson.

James Bulger, who was aged two when he murdered by 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson in Bootle, Merseyside in 1993
Image:
James Bulger was two years old when he was murdered in Bootle, Merseyside

The pair were aged 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and murdered two-year-old James in the town of Bootle, Merseyside in 1993.

Venables and Thompson have been living anonymously with new identities since being released from a life sentence.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC, who brought contempt proceedings against McKeag and Barker last year, said after the hearing: “These are both serious examples of contempt of court and I instigated these proceedings as it was in the wider public interest to do so.

“The injunction protects the identities of the offenders, but also innocent individuals who may be wrongly identified as being one of the two men and placed in danger as a result.

“I will review any further contempt of court allegations made to me and hope this sends a message to anyone tempted to do the same thing.

“Posting this material online is a crime.”

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