15 July 2024

James Bulger Killer Jon Venables Denied Parole

James Bulger, Jon Venables

Jon Venables, who took part to the murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993 at the age of 10, has been denied parole. 

James Bulger was kidnapped and murdered by two boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside. Venables and Thompson violently assaulted the toddler and, after his death, left his body on the train tracks to be further mutilated by a passing train. Both the brutality of the crime and the young age of the perpetrators, only 10 years old, sent shockwaves around the country.

The two boys served their sentences in a young offenders’ institution before being released in 2001 and provided with new identities.

Venables’ accomplice in the murder, Robert Thompson, has reportedly never re-offended since. Jon Venables, on the other hand, was recalled to prison in 2010 due to offences related to indecent images of children found on his computer. He was then released once again in 2013, only to be recalled to prison once more in 2017 for the same offence.

Now Venables, 41, will remain in prison for a minimum of two more years as the Parole Board rejected his parole request.

‘A Day We Celebrate’

In a three-page summary, the Parole Board said on Wednesday, “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and on licence, and the evidence presented in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.

“It noted the risks as set out above, doubted Mr Venables’ ability to be open and honest with professionals, and concluded that there remained a need for him to address outstanding levels of risk, and to develop his relationship with his probation officer.”

James Bulger’s family celebrated the decision, having called for this outcome. James’ mother Denise Fergus, 54, said that she feared that Venables would kill again if released.

Kym Morris, spokesperson for the James Bulger Memorial Trust, said that this is the news “they were praying for”.

“This is the day Denise has waited for years,” she said in a statement. “The prospect of him coming out was terrifying as we knew he’d harm again. This is a day we celebrate and we thank the parole board for making the correct decision.”