ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The murder of James Bulger, Jon Venables back in the news again

Updated on June 16, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

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 Finding out that this has been revoked and he is facing trial for child porn offences must be unbelievably hard.

The killers
The killers

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.

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


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      9 years ago from Deutschland

      your article is awesome

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Not quite sure what you mean HP but es it is a very sad tale.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      10 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is no doubt a sad story. I suppose the downloaded 57 indecent photographs of children onto his computer have tempted the child’s mind to do such crime.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for the inout RedElf. A very tricky situation

    • RedElf profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      I believe Sheila B. has the right of it - what on earth can we do to help such children. We cannot leave them in society to do more harm, but unless we can find out how to help them, and change them, we are only postponing their potential to do more harm when they are released once again. Surely, strict monitoring after their release is in order?

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks para and amanda for dropping by.

      It is true that some pairings can be disatorous. My hubby as a youngster had a best friend who was not good for him. They were always in trouble, though nothing too serious.

      This case will always be sad to remember and a difficult one to assess

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      10 years ago from UK

      I remember this case so well. Thankfully such incedences are incredibly rare, but it goes to show how a grim start in life can mess a child up permanantly. Such individuals are better behind bars.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      10 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      It seemed at the time that the two boys were the worst possible influence on each other. A terrible pairing where neither in any way restrained the other, and each drew justification from the other. This is not to offer any kind of excuse, but the circumstances of two such maladjusted individuals finding each other is mercifully extremely rare. The crime did lead to a wave of overprotection of children. Unfortunately it did not lead to any greater monitoring of deviant individuals.

      You are right that society simply didn't know how best to handle this case. It was beyond experience.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Habee and sorry also. Something to be aware of sadly

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Ethel, this will haunt me for days. I cannot imagine what that toddler went through and what the family will continue to endure. Thumbs up on your wonderful reporting!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Sadly times have changed the world over GB

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      10 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      HEARTBREAKING--that poor little boy (James) looks like some of my nephews. We should never, ever drop our guard or forget what happened to children like James. I remember when I lived in the UK in the 1980s I walked home from rehearsal after dark and was safe. Times have changed, haven't they--even in Britain.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Tony. Sad situation all round

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      I remember that I w2as on a visit to UK soon after this horrible event and I remember how nervous parents were. Here in South Africa we tend to smile and and even make a fuss of children we don't know in supermarkets etc., but in UK at that time it was not possible - one had to keep one's distance, and I can understand that. It was an aweful crime, an aweful thing to have happened.

      Thanks for your sensitve handling of this terrible incident and its aftermath.

      Love and peace


    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. The current identity and whereabouts of both the boys remains hidden

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Oh gosh that sure was a terrible case. I t is so hard to believe anyone could do those things to anyone. But at such a young age made it so much worse. We actually thought the boys were in australia. I was reported so at one time. horrible. Poor poor parents to have to know what happened to their son is ... I just got shivers down my spine thinking about it. well written ethel

    • IzzyM profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Like everyone else I was torn about what society should do with Venables and Thomson. They were only 10, just kids themselves, but it looks like there had to be something seriously wrong with them, and that is something they will NEVER grow out of. They will always be a danger to society. If one of them was the same kid on holiday then it has been proven that he is a nasty piece of work and tormenting the policeman, then downloading child porn, shows someoe who has absolutely no respect for society. He should be locked up for life. Throw away the key.

      Thanks for this hub ethel, I hadn't heard about the porn charges, nor had I heard about them being back living in the UK (last I heard they had new names and identities and were living in Australia, but that must just have been a rumour).

      Rated up!

    • profile image


      10 years ago


    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      hh how sacry. I guess it could have been.

      I know kids often do things that are wrong but it was the severity and nastiness in this case that was so dreadful.

      I have no answers but sadness for all especially James' parents

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      I am impressed the way you wrote and handle this terrible crime. The worst of it is that they done slowly. I read a report a few years ago that the policeman who had to watch one of them when they came out was tormented terribly. It don't know if it was Venable or Thomson. One day he couldn't take it any more and he told him if he doesn't stop it he'll take him to Liverpool and tie him to a lambpost. That stopped it.

      Years ago, I went on holiday to Tunisia with our son. There were two kids playing with our son and all three had fun. Another kid started to tormenting and challenging them for days. I told them to ignore him and keep on playing. After three or four days, the three boys were in the pool splashing, diving and swimming with each other. I sat at the edge watching. The next moment that kid took one of the plastic chairs and threw it with all its power on them. If the boys didn't dive quickly they would have had that chair on their heads. I told him to either join in with the fun or go away and leave them alone. The next moment he went and came back having a glass bottle, broke it on the edge, definitely done it before, so quickly and was going for them. I never went so perserk in all my life. First that glass in the shallow water round the pool which cuts you to pieces and he stood there ready with the bottle to insure. Now, comes the point why I am telling all this because I swear it was one of the boys. He was the same height and age and had a very heavy Liverpool accent. There was a group of grown-ups with him but this afternoon they were not there. In the evening one of the men challanged me how I dare to tell 'his son' off. That boy didn't look anything like him or that woman who was there. Another point makes me so sure that in the evening a photographer went round and took photos. The next day he put the photos up on the board and for you to buy it or not. I always looked and everybody was but that kid. Trust me to walk into something like that. Also that whole group flew back to Manchester.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      10 years ago

      Not long ago I posted a hub asking if children who murder should be sentenced to life in prison. Most of the replies are in the affirmative. Like you, I don't like giving up on children, but I'm tending to think once they've committed such a crime and entered the system, there isn't much hope for them to ever rejoin society. Whatever is wrong with them to lead them to murder isn't something they 'grow out of'.

    • CMHypno profile image


      10 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      The whole situation brings up so many questions, that is hard to know what to think. What led those two children to commit such a terrible crime? Why were they let out of prison so soon? How can you ever know that they will not commit a similar crime? What is appropriate punishment for such young children? Interesting Hub, Ethel

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Very sad story all around.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)