James Bulger's killer Jon Venables may never get out of prison under new law, victim's mum says

16 January 2023, 13:50

Denise Fergus said the move would be "historic"
Denise Fergus said the move would be "historic". Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

James Bulger's mum has revealed how one of her son's killers, Jon Venables, may never be released from prison under new plans for a parole overhaul.

Denise Fergus, James Bulger's mother, says Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has promised her his Reform Bill would keep killers like Venables, who has reoffended twice since his brutal murder, in jail.

She told the Mirror: “It would be historic.”

It comes after Ms Fergus was told by forensic psychologist Professor Paul Britton - who worked on the case in 1993 - that he did not think Venables and Robert Thompson’s attack on her two-year-old son was sexually motivated.

He added that the age of the two attackers, both of whom were 10 years old, was not an excuse for their actions.

Jon Venables' mugshot, aged 10
Jon Venables' mugshot, aged 10. Picture: Getty
A message lies behind a picture of murdered toddler James Bulger
A message lies behind a picture of murdered toddler James Bulger. Picture: Alamy

Ms Fergus 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."

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She added that it was a "great peace of mind" to her to know that James' murder was not sexually motivated.

It has also been a comfort to Ms Fergus to know that Venables, who has re-offended twice since James' murder, would stay in prison under Mr Raab's plan.

“What we have been promised has made the last 30 years of pushing for James worth it," she said.

Ms Fergus said Dominic Raab's 'two strikes and you're out' plan would be "historic"
Ms Fergus said Dominic Raab's 'two strikes and you're out' plan would be "historic". Picture: Alamy

“Mr Raab has told me straightforwardly that under his new legislation it would basically be a case of ‘two strikes and you stay in prison’.

“That would apply to the three most serious types of criminals – paedophiles, child killers and terrorists."

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

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