James Bulger murderer Jon Venables has ‘a price on his head’ in prison after inmates discovered his identity when he was sent back to jail over child porn
- 35-year-old arrested last month after officials make a routine visit to his home
- ‘Sickening’ child porn images were found on a computer and police were alerted
- Venables and Robert Thompson abducted and murdered James, two, in 1993
- He was given an expensive new identity to protect him from vigilante attacks
- Attorney General has powers to jail people who reveal his new name online
Child killer Jon Venables (pictured) has a ‘price on his head’ in prison after furious inmates discovered his identity
James Bulger murderer Jon Venables has a ‘price on his head’ in prison after furious inmates discovered his identity.
Venables, 35, was sent back to jail last month after allegedly being caught with child pornography on his computer.
A court order bans the media from revealing the prison where he is incarcerated, but fellows cons have found out and want to attack him for his sick past.
In order to be protected, Venables is escorted to the visiting room by three officers.
A prison source told the Sun that other inmates knew who the killer was as soon as he arrived.
They said: ‘The screws were talking about it because they don’t care who knows.
‘There’s a price on his head and most of the jail would like to have a pop at him but no one will be able to get to him.’
Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10 when they abducted, tortured and killed two-year old James Bulger in 1993.
They had snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, and then left his body on train tracks two and a half miles away.
The pair were released in 2001 and given new identities.
However, Venables has been sent back inside twice since his original release.
He was jailed in 2010 and again last month, both cases involved accusations of possessing indecent images of children.
Venables and Thompson (left, in CCTV) were both 10-years-old when they shocked Britain by abducting toddler James (pictured), then just two-years-old in 1993
The Attorney General is currently investigating a social media post that may have revealed Venables’ new identity.
Identifying the killers anywhere in the world breaches an anonymity order and anyone prosecuted could be jailed.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said: ‘We have received a complaint that the anonymity order has been breached and we are investigating.’
In 2013 two men who posted images they claimed to be of Venables and Thompson were given nine-month sentences, suspended for 15 months. Breaking the injunction carries a punishment of up to two years in prison.
James’ mother Denise Fergus was told Jon Venables was back behind bars only because a newspaper had found out and was about to break the story.
She angrily denounced the Ministry of Justice and the Probation Service for ‘trying to keep quiet’ that Venables had been returned to prison.
Mrs Fergus said she was ‘absolutely fuming that once again I’m last to know’.
In a statement, she said: ‘Venables has now proved beyond any doubt what a vile, perverted psychopath he has always been. But what hurts me most is the way the Probation Service has tried to cover this up.
How Bulger killer Jon Venables is back in jail for the second time in seven years
Jon Venables is back in prison
Jon Venables was first released from prison in 2001, at the age of 18, and given a new identity to protect him from the risk of vigilante attacks – but he has been returned to jail twice/
At the time, a psychiatrist ruled that he did not pose a danger to the public and was extremely unlikely to commit any further offences.
However, he developed drinking and drugs problems, and he compromised his identity at least twice by telling friends he was a convicted murderer.
When a probation officer visited his home in Cheshire in 2010 to discuss his fears that he could be in danger, he was attempting to destroy the hard drive of his computer.
The hard drive was later examined by police, who discovered that it contained dozens of indecent images of children.
Venables admitted that he had posed online as a 35-year-old woman who had abused her eight-year-old daughter, and was returned to prison.
‘Venables was taken back into custody a week ago, yet I was only informed hours before it hit the press. But it’s clear that they were trying to keep this quiet, until they got a call from the media.
‘That left me extremely upset, angry, feeling insulted. I predicted Venables would reoffend unless they kept a very tight rein on him and I pray that now please someone from the UK Government will finally listen to me.’
The news triggered renewed calls for Venables to be locked up for the rest of his life.
Venables and Thompson were found guilty after a trial at Preston Crown Court in November 1993. A judge ruled that reporting restrictions should be lifted and the pair, then 11, could be named.
The court heard that Venables and Thompson snatched James after his mother let go of his hand to pay for some sausages.
They led James along a canal towpath before battering him with an iron bar, pouring paint in his eyes, clubbing him with bricks and leaving him on a railway line to be hit by a train.
The youngest to be convicted of murder in Britain for 250 years, they were ordered to be detained indefinitely in youth custody.
They were released after eight years, in prison with new identities.
They were handed a lifelong licence after it was ruled they were no longer a danger to the public.
Venables was returned to custody last week after probation officials allegedly discovered child porn images at his home in the North of England during a routine check and alerted police.
The material is said to be similar to that discovered on his computer in 2010, leading to his first recall to jail.
But the Probation Service did not tell Mrs Fergus until 8.40pm on Wednesday, hours before the news was set to be revealed by The Sun.
The crime made Thompson and Venables the youngest killers in modern English history
Ralph and Denise Bulger, parents of James, during an emotional police press conference in the aftermath of his death
Her lawyer Sean Saxton said: ‘She is kept in the dark and only given information about her son’s killers when it is about to be revealed publicly in any event.
‘She has worried for many years that there may have been a cover-up as to the risk truly posed by Venables and Thompson.
‘She believes that there was a rush to release them before they entered youth custody and the authorities turned a blind eye to any evidence that either of them posed a risk to children.’
Venables is being held at a maximum security prison, which cannot be identified, while the new allegations are investigated.
If he is charged, he will appear via videolink at any trial, to protect his identity. The Ministry of Justice said: ‘We do not comment on individual cases.’
TIMELINE: JAMES BULGER’S MURDER AND THE CONVICTION OF TWO KILLERS
- February 12: Two-year-old James Bulger is snatched during a shopping trip to the Strand shopping centre, in Bootle, Merseyside.
- February 14: The toddler’s battered body is found by children playing on a freight railway line 200 yards from Walton Lane police station, Liverpool, and more than two miles from the Strand shopping centre.
- February 18: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, both 10-year-olds, are arrested in connection with the murder of James, and later charged. They are the youngest to be charged with murder in the 20th century.
- February 22: There are violent scenes outside South Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle, when the two primary school pupils, then known as Child A and Child B, make their first appearance.
- November 24: Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, now both aged 11, are convicted of James Bulger’s murder following a 17-day trial at Preston Crown Court. They are ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure, the normal substitute sentence for life imprisonment when the offender is a juvenile.
- July: The eight year sentence tariff set by the trial judge, which has already been increased to 10 years by Lord Chief Justice Lord Taylor of Gosforth, is increased again to 15 years by the Home Secretary Michael Howard.
- June: The Law Lords rule by a majority that Mr Howard has acted illegally in raising the boys’ tariff.
- March: The European Commission on Human Rights finds that Thompson and Venables were denied a fair trial and fair sentencing by an impartial and independent tribunal.
- March: Home Secretary Jack Straw says he will not set a date for Thompson and Venables’ release.
- October: Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf reinstates the trial judge’s original tariff, paving the way for their release.
- January: James Bulger’s killers win an unprecedented court order from High Court judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss which grants them anonymity for the rest of their lives.
- June: Thompson and Venables are freed under new identities.
- September: Venables is arrested on suspicion of affray after he and another man become involved in a drunken street fight. He is given a formal warning by the Probation Service about breaching the good behaviour expected of him as a condition of his licence.
- Later the same year he is cautioned for possession of cocaine after he was found with a small amount of the class A drug, which was said to be for personal use. The public remains unaware of both offences until 2010.
- March 2: Venables is returned to prison after breaching the terms of his release, the Ministry of Justice says. It kick-starts frenzied media speculation over the nature of the alleged breach.
- April 16: Prosecutors handed a police file over the latest allegations.
- June 21: A judge at the Old Bailey lifts media restrictions, allowing it to be reported that Venables has been charged with downloading and distributing child pornography.
- July 23: Venables pleads guilty to the charges. He is sentenced to two years in prison. James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus attacks the length of sentence as ‘simply not enough’.
- July 30: A judge rules Venables’ new identity must be kept secret because of the ‘compelling evidence’ of a threat to his safety, saying ‘unpopular’ defendants had as much right to protection from retribution as anyone else.
- April 26: Two users of social media who breached the injunction banning the revelation of the new identities of Venables and Thompson receive suspended jail sentences.
- July 4: Sources reveal Venables has been granted parole.