Jon Venables ‘may never be freed from prison’ as James Bulger’s mother reveals ‘Dominic Raab promised her his Reform Bill would keep the child murderer in jail’
- Child killer Jon Venables may never be free under a planned parole overhaul
- James Bulger’s mother said Dominic Raab’s Reform Bill would keep killer in jail
- Justice Secretary’s proposed new bill follows ‘two strikes and you stay in’ policy
- Venables was entitled to parole hearing within two years of bid in 2020
James Bulger’s mother revealed that Jon Venables, who was one of two ten year old boys who murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Bootle in February 1993, may never be free under a planned parole overhaul.
His mother, Denise Fergus, claimed Justice Secretary Dominic Raab promised her his Reform Bill would keep her child’s killer in jail.
He added to her peace of mind when he told her Venables, 40, would not walk free again under his proposed new ‘two strikes and you stay in’ policy.
Speaking for the first time about the meeting with Mr Raab last summer in his office at Westminster, Denise, 54, told the Mirror: ‘In that meeting I was hearing words I’d always wanted to hear.
The boy’s mother, Denise Fergus pictured above, calimed Justice Secretary Dominic Raab promised her his Reform Bill would keep her child’s killer in jail
James Bulger’s mother revealed that Jon Venables pictured above, who was one of two ten year old boys who murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Bootle in February 1993, may never be free under a planned parole overhaul.
‘His lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear it all because I never believed I would hear those words.
‘The words that under his plans, Venables would never walk free again.
‘I didn’t think this day would ever come. I froze.’
Venables, who has reoffended four times since his release from prison, is currently serving a 40-month jail term and passed the halfway point in October.
Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old James Bulger (pictured) before leaving his body by a railway line in Liverpool 25 years ago
Speaking for the first time about the meeting with Mr Raab last summer in his office at Westminster, Denise, 54, said: ‘In that meeting I was hearing words I’d always wanted to hear.
Under the current legislation, Venables was entitled to another parole hearing within two years of his last bid in September 2020.
Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old James before leaving his body by a railway line in Liverpool 25 years ago.
They were released on licence under strict conditions after serving eight years in secure children’s units and were given lifetime anonymity in 2001.
Despite then being judged by a parole board ruled he was no longer a threat to public safety, Venables has since returned to prison twice after being found in possession of child abuse images.
He has also received cautions for separate incidents of affray and possession of cocaine.
Following his release from prison in 2001, Venables was known to have been living independently by March the following year – some time thereafter beginning a relationship with a woman who had a five-year-old child, although he denies having ever met them.
He was then reported to have had a number of ‘younger girlfriends’ which suggested he was enjoying a delayed adolescence, while he also developed drinking and drugs problems and he compromised his identity at least twice by telling friends he was a convicted murderer.
But in September 2008, Venables was arrested on suspicion of affray after a drunken brawl. He had claimed he was acting in self-defence and the charges were subsequently dropped when he agreed to attend an alcohol awareness course.
Venables was given a formal warning by the probation service for breaching the good behaviour terms of his licence.
Just three months later, though, Venables was cautioned and handed a curfew for possession of cocaine after he was found with a small amount of the class A drug.
And in 2010 he returned to prison for the first time since his release nine years earlier when he was found with dozens of indecent images of children at his home in Cheshire.
A probation officer had visited his address to discuss his fears that he could be in danger, but found Venables attempting to destroy the hard drive of his computer.
The hard drive was later examined by police, who discovered that it contained 57 indecent images.
Venables subsequently admitted he had posed online as a 35-year-old woman who had abused her eight-year-old daughter.
The images found included children as young as two being raped by adults.
He pleaded guilty to downloading and distributing child sex images and was jailed for two years.
During his second stint in prison, he was given yet another new identity because of the risk posed by a previous security breach. Venables was paroled again in 2013 and took on his fourth new identity.
But in February 2018 he was jailed for a third time, for 40 months, after pleading guilty to having more than 1,000 indecent images of children.
It included Category A pictures, the most serious, and a horrific paedophile manual.
He pleaded guilty to possession of indecent images of children for a second time and was jailed for three years and four months.
James Bulger: How the murder of a toddler shocked the nation
The murder of James Bulger was a vicious crime that shocked Britain.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10 years old on February 12, 1993, when they abducted the two-year-old before brutally torturing and killing him.
The crime made the boys the youngest killers in modern English history.
The duo snatched James from outside a butcher’s shop in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993, while his mother popped into a store for just a few seconds.
James’ mutilated body was found on a railway line in Walton, Liverpool, two days later.
The boys were playing truant from school, and CCTV showed them observing local children at the shopping centre, appearing to be ‘selecting a target’.
They were then captured on camera taking the boy away at 3.42pm, before leading him on a two-and-a-half mile walk through Liverpool to the village of Walton.
Venables and Thompson were seen by 38 people during the walk, and were twice challenged by bystanders because James was crying and had a bump on his forehead.
But they were able to convince the concerned people that James was their little brother and continued on their way.
They led James to a railway line near the disused Walton & Anfield Railway Station where they began torturing him – including throwing paint in his eye, pelting him with stones and bricks and dropping an iron bar on his head.
After the body was found, police launched an appeal showing the low-resolution CCTV images of the boy.
The breakthrough came when one woman recognised Venables, who she knew had skipped school with Thompson on that day, and contacted police.
They were charged with murder on February 20 and forensic tests confirmed they had the same paint on their clothes as was found on James’ body.
Around 500 protesters turned out for their initial magistrates’ court hearing due to the public outcry against the crime.
The subsequent trial at Preston Crown Court and the boys were considered to be ‘mature enough’ to know they were doing something ‘seriously wrong’.
Venables and Thompson were found guilty on November 24, 1993, with the judge describing them as ‘cunning and wicked’.
Reporting restrictions on their names were also lifted as it was considered in the public interest to do so.
Their parents were moved to different parts of the country and also received new identities due to death threats against them.