James Bulger’s devastated father has lost his bid in court to have his son’s killer Jon Venables’ lifelong anonymity revoked – with a judge reportedly making the decision to protect Venables from “serious violence”.
James was just two years old when he was kidnapped and killed by Venables and Robert Thompson, both 10 at the time, in the Bootle area of Merseyside, after the pair lured him away from a shopping centre he had been visiting with his mother Denise Fergus.
Venables and Thompson were sentenced to a minimum terms of eight years for the murder, making them the youngest murderers in British history at the time, however the pair were released following a parole hearing in 2001.
Upon their release, the men were given lifelong licences and granted new identities. James’ dad Ralph later launched a bid for Venables, who has since been jailed twice following his release, to lose his right to anonymity.
However, according to The Sun, President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane rejected the bid on Monday, despite lawyers for Ralph Bulger arguing that some details about the killer are already easily accessible online.
“My decision is in no way a reflection on the applicants themselves, for whom there is a profoundest sympathy,” he said, according to the news outlet.
He added: “As Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss held, (Venables) is ‘uniquely notorious’ and 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.”
Last month, Ralph spoke out about an “offensive” film documenting the death of his beloved son, claiming it was too sympathetic towards the boys who took his child’s life.
Speaking openly to The Mirror about his frustration over the movie Detainment, he branded it offensive and revealed that he nor any other members of James’ family had been contacted by film makers during production.
Ralph admitted while he has seen many documentaries and news stories about the death of James over the past 26 years, Detainment takes things to another level. The short drama is based solely on police interviews with 10-year-old murderers Venables and Thompson.
“I have never been so cut up and offended by something that shows so little compassion to James and his family,” he told The Mirror.
“I accept this is a murder of such magnitude it will always be written about and featured in the news but to make a film so sympathetic to James’ killers is devastating.”
It comes after James’ mum revealed she wasn’t supporting the calls for Venables’ identity to be revealed.
According to multiple media outlets, Denise said in a statement, read in court: “I understand the motivation for the application, but my concern is that if Venables were known by his own name, it could lead to vigilante action and innocent people being hurt. Beyond that, I have no further comment to make.”