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04th Mar 2019

James Bulger killer Jon Venables will not be identified after father loses court case

Kyle Picknell

The identity of Jon Venables will not be made public

The father of James Bulger has lost a court case to have the identity of Jon Venables made public. Bulger was murdered as a toddler in 1993 by Venables, who has lived in anonymity since his release from a life-sentence prison term in 2001. He was 10 years old at the time of the murder and 18 years old when he was released.

Ralph Bulgar, James’ father, appealed for the order to be overturned, arguing that certain details of the killer are ‘common knowledge’ and therefore should be made public.

Bulgar’s Lawyer said that, as victims, he should be able to scrutinise the handling of Venables by the authorities due to him being returned to prison twice for possession of child abuse images since his parole was granted.

In a ruling on Monday, president of the family division, Sir Andrew McFarlane refused to change the terms of the order, stating that it could have ‘grave and possibly fatal consequences’ for Venables.

Sir Andrew said: “There is a strong possibility, if not a probability, that if his identity were known he would be pursued resulting in grave and possibly fatal consequences.”

The court heard that the information available online includes details of Venables’ identities and former addresses as well as the prisons where he has been detained.

However, anyone caught sharing such information under the injunction could face prosecution for contempt of court.

Venables, along with Robert Thompson, killed 2-year-old James Bulger after abducting him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.