herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Tell me why James's evil killer is back behind bars pleads heartbroken mum

FURY: She makes TV appeal as new allegations are kept secret

A TELEVISION appeal by murdered toddler James Bulger's mother has increased public pressure for the details of new allegations against his killer Jon Venables to be revealed.

During her appearance, Denis Fergus accused the British government of treating the issue like a political football and of closing doors in her face.

Venables (27), who was 10 when he and Robert Thompson carried out the brutal killing in Merseyside, is said to be under investigation by police over child pornography allegations.

But ministers said releasing further information was "not in the interests of justice" because it could threaten the fairness of any future trial.

Mrs Fergus, who was supported by her husband Stuart, told TV presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning that the days after learning of Venables' return to jail had been a "massive rollercoaster".

She confirmed she found out about Venables' recall last Tuesday when officials visited her home in Kirkby, Merseyside.



Sleepless

"It has been up and down, I have been very emotional. My head has been all over the place. I don't know what he has done. I don't know whether he has gone on to kill someone else.

"I have had sleepless nights and I am not eating again -- I have had to pull my kids out of school. It is just one massive rollercoaster again for me. And I can't believe that they are putting me through this.

"I am sick of them closing doors in my face. It's about time they started telling me what I think I should know. As James's mother I have a right to know."

But British Justice Secretary Jack Straw defended the need for secrecy.

He had earlier hinted he could release more information, but said: "I fully understand the concern of James Bulger's parents and the wider public about this case, and indeed the frustration voiced by James's mother that insufficient information has been provided to her.

"I have been giving further active consideration as to whether it would be appropriate to provide more information. But I have concluded that this would not presently be in the interests of justice."

Mr Straw indicated there would be a major inquiry if Venables was charged with another serious crime. Mrs Fergus is due to meet Mr Straw later this week to convey her anger.

Venables and Thompson were released on licence with new identities in 2001, having served eight years.

The judge who granted Venables anonymity has warned he could be murdered by vigilantes if his new identity is revealed.

Lady Butler-Sloss, the former president of the British High Court's family division, stressed "the enormous importance of protecting his anonymity now and if he is later released because those who wanted to kill him in 2001 are likely to be out there now".

She said: "He may or may not have committed offences. There is, of course, at least the possibility that he has committed no offence.

"And consequently, he may therefore be allowed again to be out (of jail) on licence."

hnews@herald.ie

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