James Bulger killer Jon Venables 'fails to attend parole hearing' despite it being held in private for his mental health

19 November 2023, 09:15 | Updated: 19 November 2023, 09:28

Jon Venables did not attend his private parole hearing
Jon Venables did not attend his private parole hearing. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

James Bulger's killer Jon Venables did not attend his parole hearing despite it being held in private to aid his mental health.

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Venables did not hear impact statements read out by James's parents, nor comments from justice secretary Alex Chalk, who does not want him to be let out.

The 41-year-old, whose new identity is a secret, was allowed the chance to have a private hearing so he could avoid "disproportionate emotional stress".

He is also protected by an anonymity order.

But he still failed to turn up in his bid for freedom.

Read more: James Bulger's mother makes desperate plea as her son's killer Jon Venables makes bid for freedom

Denise Fergus called for Venables to stay behind bars
Denise Fergus called for Venables to stay behind bars. Picture: Alamy

"It was made private to protect him and he does this. It means it wouldn’t have made any difference if the hearing had been public," a source told The Sun.

"It makes a mockery of it all. He’s been a coward to the end. He probably didn't want to hear the impact statements so took the easy option."

It is unclear if he was advised against appearing or if he made the decision himself.

It comes after James's mother Denise Fergus said she would "crumble" if Venables was let out.

Read more: Jon Venables should not be released, writes Shelagh Fogarty

"Look into my eyes and see what I’ve had to deal with for 30 years – three decades of hell. Keep people safe from this monster, because that is what he is, and don't give him what he wants.

"If he goes on to commit more crimes after you release him, it will be on your shoulders. So, I'm just asking you to do the right thing."

Venables was jailed aged 10 alongside Robert Thompson in November 1993 for the murder of James.

They tortured and killed the two-year-old after taking him from a shopping centre in Merseyside.

Venables was jailed for eight years for before being released on strict licence.

He was sent back to prison in 2010 and 2017 for possessing indecent images of children, and was given a 40-month sentence.

Thompson has not re-offended since being released on licence when he was 18.

If he is released, Venables will still be protected by life-long anonymity order and will live under a new identity.

A decision on is release may not arrive for several weeks.