James Bulger smiles, Jon Venables looks aside
True Crime

James Bulger killer Jon Venables set for controversial parole hearing

Child killer could be released within weeks

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In latest James Bulger news, killer Jon Venables is reportedly set for a parole hearing today (Tuesday, November 14).

Venables, now 40, and Robert Thompson, 39, were both aged 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed James, two, in February 1993.

The toddler was taken from a shopping centre in Merseyside. His body was found two days later on a railway line.

James Bulger was two years old when he was murdered in 1993
James Bulger was two years old when he was murdered in 1993 (Credit: This Morning YouTube)

Two-day appeal

Venables and Thompson were the youngest convicted murderers in the UK in more than a century. They were released in 2001 on licence for life, with both banned from ever returning to Liverpool. They were also given new identities.

Thompson has not reoffended – but Venables was sent back to jail in 2010 and 2017 after being caught with child sex abuse images on his computer.

Previously turned down for parole in 2020 after serving his minimum 40 months’ sentence, Venables’ current, behind-closed-doors appeal is expected to last for two days.

However, the decision may take a fortnight after the hearing finishes.

Additionally, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has the right to ask for any decision to release Venables to be reconsidered.

Denise Fergus speaks
Denise Fergus has emotionally spoken about ‘three decades of hell’ since the murder of her son (Credit: This Morning YouTube)

James Bulger news

James’ family will not attend the hearing after Parole Board chair Caroline Corby ruled it would take place in private.

However, victim impact statements are expected to be read to the court.

James’ mother Denise Fergus has implored for Venables to remain jailed.

Speaking to the Mirror, she addressed parole board officials directly: “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.

Keep people safe from this monster.

“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.”

Read more: James Bulger’s mum admits she’s the ‘happiest I have been for some time’ as she announces news

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer