Jon Venables may never be freed under new parole plans

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has told the mum of murdered toddler James Bulger that his murderer Jon Venables may never be freed under his new parole plans.

The Mirror reported on Monday, January 16 that Raab told Denise Fergus that his reform bill would see people like Venables never freed.

Having spent another Christmas without her son, Fergus said that keeping re-offenders like Venables in jail: “Would be historic.”

The news comes as Professor Paul Britton, the forensic psychologist who worked on the case in 1993, shared details with Denise that she had not heard before. He is said to have told her that the attack by Venables and Robert Thompson’s attack on the two-year-old was sexually motivated.

Speaking to the Mirror she said: “For 30 years there were lots of details about James’s death that I have wanted to avoid, but I finally felt strong enough to hear it.

“And whilst others were blind-sided and distracted by the fact that they were such physically small children, which some thought meant that it was impossible they could have committed such a crime, his brain quickly defined them as murderers.

“Just hearing that fact alone, I felt something fundamental shift in me.

“That has been such a block over the years. The excuse that they were ‘only children’ themselves who didn’t deserve the adult labels of ‘murderers’ has always been hard for me to bear.

“Hearing it from someone trained and impartial was an important and healing moment.

“He also told me in no uncertain terms that Venables and Thompson had ‘no proper sexual involvement with James’.

“He said James was ‘injured in all sorts of different ways and whilst he might have been injured in a way that would have included if you like, all of his body, there wasn’t what you would call an adult sexual attack on him’.”

Venables is a persistent re-offender who is currently serving a new sentence for the possession of images of child sex abuse. Raab is said to be included in his reform bill “two strikes and you stay in.”

She said Raab had told her: “That would apply to the three most serious types of criminals –paedophiles, child killers and terrorists. There would not be endless chances at rehabilitating anyone who had committed this type of crime.”

She added: “And that meant, under Raab’s planned new law, Venables would never see the light of day.

“I feel hopeful for the first time in 30 years that this could become law and we’d have justice for James and for future potential victims.

“It would be historic.”

Venables and Thompson were convicted of murdering James 30 years ago after they took the two-year-old from a shopping centre in Liverpool. Ten years old at the time, the two were released at the age of 18 under new identities.

Thompson has never reoffended but Venables was sent back to jail in 2010 and 2017 after being caught with child sex abuse images on his computer. He has since been turned down for parole, but the 40-year-old is due to come up for parole again shortly.

Raab hopes to get his recently launched reform bill approved in 2023, which would see the likes of Jon Venables never freed.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]