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

14 November 2023, 09:39

James Bulger's killer Jon Venables launches bid for freedom
James Bulger's killer Jon Venables launches bid for freedom. Picture: Getty

By StephenRigley

The mother of murdered James Bulger has made a desperate plea to the parole board to "do the right thing" and keep her son's killer in jail.

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A two-day appeal will determine if Jon Venables can be released from jail after he was locked up for the second time for possessing child abuse images.

The Parole Board was asked to review his case in 2020 when he became eligible, but the panel decided he should not be released.

Venables, now 41, will make another bid for freedom today in a private meeting.

Denise Fergus
Denise Fergus. Picture: Alamy

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The two-year-old's mum Denise Fergus told how she would "crumble" if the killer was allowed back on the streets as she branded the hearing her "D-day".

Addressing the board directly, she told the Mirror: "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 alongside Robert Thompson in November 1993 at the age of 10 for the harrowing murder of toddler James. The pair tortured and killed the two-year-old after snatching him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.

Venables was jailed for eight years for the toddler's murder before being released on strict license. He was then 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 years old.

The oral hearing to decide whether Venables can be released after his latest sentence for possessing child abuse images is due to take place today and tomorrow.

Chairwoman of the Parole Board for England and Wales Caroline Corby ruled that proceedings should take place in private, in order to respect a long-standing legal order that bans the public identification of Venables.

James's relatives have also been barred from attending, although victim impact statements will be read as part of the hearing.

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

Experts warn that a decision may not be known for several weeks, alleging one is normally be given around two weeks after the oral hearing has finished, bar any delays.