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Bulger killer 'had sex with prison guard'

One of James Bulger's killers had sex with a member of prison staff shortly before his release on parole, it was alleged today.

The incident between Jon Venables and the woman was said to have taken place in an empty property at a secure unit while she was supposed to be looking after him during a walk in the grounds, according to a British newspaper.

The report said the encounter was believed to have taken place in 2000 when Venables was 17 -- just months before the UK's Parole Board sanctioned his release in June 2001.

It added that the member of staff at the Red Bank secure unit on Merseyside was accused of sexual misconduct, suspended and ultimately did not return to work.

Venables, now 28, had been staying at the centre in Newton-le-Willows since the age of 10 when he was first remanded in custody ahead of his murder trial where he was subsequently convicted of the abduction and murder of two-year-old James, along with Robert Thompson, who was also 10 at the time.

The pair lured the toddler from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993 and walked him several miles to a railway line in Walton where they killed him.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice refused to comment on the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Venables was jailed for two years last July after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

hnews@herald.ie