The murder of James Bulger, Jon Venables back in the news again
The news that one of the killers of toddler James Bulger has been charged with child porn is both shocking and worrying. This terrible murder horrified UK citizens and people around the world when details were publicised. For the family of little James the fact that Venables was out on licence would have been terrible. Finding out that this has been revoked and he is facing trial for child porn offences must be unbelievably hard.
James Bulger was born on the 16th March 1990. He was murdered less than three years later by two ten year old boys. This fact alone is shocking but the details of the horrible events that led up to James' death do not bear thinking about.
James somehow lost hold of his Mum's hand whilst they were in a shopping centre. The two boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables appear to have been looking for such an opportunity. They led James away before anyone realized.
As they walked him to what was to be the scene of his death little James cried and was fretful. They stopped briefly near a canal where James was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face. The boys explained the fact that James was upset to passers by as if they were big brothers taking him home. Who would not have believed this? In all they passed 38 people as they walked little James 21/2 miles across Liverpool. Two people did challenge the pair but they fobbed them off.
James was led to an area close to some railway tracks where he was tortured mercilessly. I prefer not to labour this poor child's injuries but for those who want to know more this link may help.
His tiny battered body was then thrown onto the train lines in the hope that what had transpired would never be known. I find it painful and upsetting remembering these tragic events and the news at the time, and I had no association with anyone concerned. For the family such tragic events simply tear them apart.
So why rake up all of this dreadful but old news.
2010 has seen reports that one of the killers, Jon Venables is accused of child porn offences. He is now 27 years old.
It is alleged that he downloaded 57 indecent photographs of children onto his computer and also made 7 available to others whilst he was doing so.
The two boys when sentenced for the murder of James were both given life sentences. Watching a documentary about the case last year, I did find details about these boys and their home lives worrying. However, once the details of James' death were aired again it was hard to give them any sympathy at all.
The overriding concern for most was that they were only children. However, at ten they should have had some boundaries. On the day of the murder they had been stealing and generally just messing about. Their crime was so terrible though that it is hard to belief such young boys would perpetrate it.
When Venables and Thompson were released on licence there were certain conditions. Obviously as soon as it appeared that Venables had broken these terms he was returned to prison. They had been released on licence in 2001 which meant that they had served around eight years. Initially the Home Secretary had stated that these boys had to serve at least 15 years but this was overturned at appeal.
Not long for such a terrible crime.
Of course in relation to their ages it was a lifetime. For me though that does not help.
I am left totally unsure of what we do with children who commit such crimes. They are after all children but what children.
Initially there was an injunction against The Sun newspaper for reporting the porn charges in the news. The family of James though have all along maintained that they should have been kept informed.
As The Sun reported:-
"Venables was recalled to prison in February following the new allegations, but the charges could not be reported until today. James Bulger's devastated family slammed the authorities for not keeping them informed about the details of Venables case. A statement released on behalf of his uncle James "Jimmy" Bulger and his dad Ralph said it was with "enormous relief" that they were finally told details about Venables' crimes today.
It read: "Great anguish and distress has been suffered by Ralph and Jimmy, who had the responsibility of identifying James' mutilated and tortured body all those years ago"
An appalling situation all round.
23rd July 2010 Update
UK news reports have said that Venables has received a two year jail sentence for the pron image charges. Understandably James Bulger's mother Denise is not happy with such a short jail term. She has asked that Venbales’ 2008 trouble and charges of affray be considered.
As Venables was out on licence the public and well as James' family are left wondering why he has not been returned to jail for longer, and sooner.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Ethel Smith