More than three decades on since the murder of James Bulger, one of the toddler’s killers could be set to start a new life in Australia, at the expense of British taxpayers.
The shocking murder of two-year-old James is known around the world, with the mugshots of convicted killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, both just 10-years old at the time, instantly recognisable.
Both boys were sentenced to ‘detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure’ for the harrowing crime, making them the youngest convicted killers in modern British history. Upon their release in 2001 on a life-long licence, Venables and Thompson were granted new identities.
While Thompson has not been seen or heard from since, Venables has been jailed on two further occasions over child abuse images, and his anonymity has been uncovered on several occasions.
Now, according to reports in several British newspapers over the weekend, Venables could be set to start a new life overseas with the Daily Star reporting that the bill for his protection was becoming too costly.
“The thinking is that it would be cheaper to get rid of him abroad, than keep forking out,” a source told the tabloid, with the commonwealth countries of Australia, Canada and New Zealand allegedly being touted as possibilities.
After the news was revealed in a weekend edition of the newspaper, many people have taken to social media to express their concerns about the possibility that Venables will be settled overseas.
One person wrote: “No! He shouldn’t even have a life he should still be in prison where he belongs!” Another said: “To move an unreformed child killer abroad is blatantly shifting the problem elsewhere and avoiding full scrutiny of this individual and the institutions involved in his so called rehabilitation.”
While a third commented: “Hasn’t he offended on more than one occasion since his release? If that is the case, there should be no more chances. We can’t send sexual predators or what you will abroad. How do we know he has reformed this time?”
Earlier this year James’ father Ralph Bulger launched a bid to publicly unveil his son’s killer’s identity, however that was defeated in court, with a judge reportedly making the decision to protect Venables from “serious violence”.
However James’ mother Denise Fergus is not thought to support the calls for Venables to be publicly identified, with several newspapers claiming she expressed concerns that doing so “could lead to vigilante action and innocent people being hurt”.