Killer of James Bulger charged over indecent images of children

One of toddler James Bulger's killers has been charged in connection with indecent images of children for a ­second time.
Jon Venables was ten when he and a friend killed James BulgerJon Venables was ten when he and a friend killed James Bulger
Jon Venables was ten when he and a friend killed James Bulger

Jon Venables, who was released on licence in 2001 with a new identity after serving eight years for the murder of two-year-old James, was returned to prison last November.

The Crown Prosecution Service released a statement yesterday saying he had been charged but that his trial would be subject to reporting restrictions.

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The statement said: “The man formerly known as Jon Venables has been charged with offences relating to indecent images of children and will appear in the Crown Court.

“In order that justice can be done, no further details are being released at this stage and the proceedings are subject to reporting restrictions.”

When news of Venables’s arrest emerged late last year, James’s mother Denise Fergus said: “Venables has now proved beyond any doubt what a vile, perverted psychopath he has always been.”

Venables, now aged 35, and his friend, Robert Thompson, tortured and killed James in Liverpool in 1993 when they were both aged ten. They were granted life-long anonymity with new identities when they were freed on licence in 2001 – meaning they can be recalled to jail at any time if they breach the conditions.

In 2010, Venables was sent back to jail for two years after pleading guilty to charges of downloading and distributing child abuse images.

On that occasion, there were no restrictions on reporting the case other than a ban on revealing his image, new identity and whereabouts.

That was not the only time he had breached the terms of his licence. In September 2008, he was arrested on suspicion of affray after a drunken brawl and was given a formal warning by the probation service. Later the same year he was cautioned for possession of cocaine.

Following his latest arrest, the Attorney General launched an inquiry into claims his identity had been revealed online.

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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 on identifying them carries a punishment of up to two years in prison.