Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

James Bulger's mum fears his killer would reoffend like Gary Glitter if freed

The mum of James Bulger has spoken about her fears over his killer’s potential release on the day her son would have celebrated his 33rd birthday.

Last month, it was reported that Jon Venables had been granted another parole hearing after being denied release in September 2020.

The news horrified James’s mother Denise Fergus, who has campaigned for him to stay behind bars.

Talking to the Daily Mirror, she said the recent case of Gary Glitter being returned to prison not long after his release should remind the parole board of what could be at stake.

She said: ‘Seeing Gary Glitter, who is a prolific reoffender, slipping back into his old ways is frightening and just shows that people like him, and Venables in my opinion, never change.

‘It is an example of why someone like Venables should never be let free.

‘I just hope the Parole Board see what has happened with Glitter and realise that Venables would offend again too. It’s inevitable if he is freed.’

Saying he ‘has clearly still got evil in him’, she told the paper: ‘I have no doubt he would kill another child if he is released.’


Venables, who murdered Denise’s two-year-old son James in 1993 when he was just 10, was released on licence with a new identity in 2001 alongside the other killer Robert Thompson.

But while Thompson has not reoffended since his release, Venables has been sent back to prison twice for possessing indecent images of children, in 2010 and 2017.

The pair are still the UK’s youngest convicted murderers in modern history.

Ahead of Venables’ last parole hearing, Denise had urged the board to ‘finally admit this man is a threat and danger to society’.

She claimed he had shown ‘no remorse or any signs of being rehabilitated’.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is said to have been in contact with Denise ahead of the possible new hearing.

His Victims Bill would include a ‘two strikes and you’re in’ scheme, preventing dangerous repeat offenders committing serious offences while on parole from ever being let out.

If the legislation clears parliament by Easter as he hopes, it would likely mean Venables would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Parole hearings – which decide if criminals, including those serving life sentences and terrorists, should be freed from jail or stay behind bars – have always been held in private inside prisons, with victims and other observers granted limited access in rare circumstances.

But under new rule changes which came into force last July, victims, the press and other interested parties are allowed to request a case is reviewed in public in a bid to remove the secrecy around the process.

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