herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Daily nightmare of tragic Bulger's dad as killer bids to be free

The father of murdered toddler James Bulger is "relieved" his son's killer Jon Venables has lost his bid for freedom.

But having to go through the process again within two years has added to the suffering, his solicitor said.

Ralph Bulger, who told a parole board of the "daily nightmare" since his son's murder in 1993, faces having to explain how he has been affected again when Venables' case is considered within two years.

"To have to explain again and afresh the daily nightmare in consequence of the murder adds to the suffering," his solicitor Robin Makin said.

Venables, one of the two 10-year-old boys who abducted two-year-old James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, was jailed for two years last July after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

The British Parole Board had to decide whether Venables still posed a risk to the public and will have considered the nature of the offence, the prisoner's offending history, and his progress in jail.



BATTLESHIPS



It will also have considered any psychologists' reports, probation officers' reports, prison officers' reports, any statistical risk assessments that have been completed and the view of the British Secretary of State.

Mr Makin said Mr Bulger was "relieved" but raised concerns over the family's ordeal being repeated next year.

"The Parole Board will reconsider matters next year and this will be another distressing process," he said.

"Unless something changes, it will be compounded by the lack of transparency and reasoning.

"To have to deal with such a serious matter as if it were a game of battleships, not knowing whether the Parole Board have evidence and have taken it into account, is quite unacceptable.

"The Parole Board should give reasons for its decisions."

He added: "To have a repetition of the process which has just concluded in which the previous parole process material had not been kept by the Parole Board and matters had to be recreated is quite unacceptable.

"Similarly, to have to explain again and afresh the daily nightmare in consequence of the murder adds to the suffering."

He also described suggestions that Venables wants to do a prime-time television interview as "quite inappropriate", saying that they would "hopefully, never be permitted by the authorities".

"Ralph Bulger would welcome an opportunity for a serious debate on the issues of concern," he said.

"However, that would involve professional representatives with knowledge of the relevant facts, law and procedure."



torture



Venables' case for parole will not be considered again for at least another year, but will be reviewed by July 2013 at the latest, the Parole Board said.

Last week, the board heard Mr Bulger describe the "daily nightmare" of life since his son's murder.

Speaking outside Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, Mr Makin, said: "It's a daily nightmare for all of them. It still is.

"Things have not really got better."

Mr Makin said his client had been forced to relive the details of the murder, including the torture and sexual abuse which James suffered at the hands of his killers.

"Ralph had to deal with that situation. It's a very stressful day for Ralph," Mr Makin said.

hnews@herald.ie

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