James Bulger’s mother: Don’t release James’s killer

Denise Fergus hopes to address a parole hearing for her toddler son's killer, Jon Venables. Picture: PA
Denise Fergus hopes to address a parole hearing for her toddler son's killer, Jon Venables. Picture: PA
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THE mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has said she hopes to personally address a parole hearing for killer Jon Venables.

Denise Fergus will argue that Venables, who was aged ten when he and classmate Robert Thompson abducted and murdered two-year-old James, is a psychopath who remains a danger to society.

Thompson and Venables were jailed for life but released on licence with new identities in 2001.

Venables, 30, had his parole revoked in 2010 and was jailed for two years after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

Now he has made a fresh application for release and the hearing is expected to take place in the coming months.

Ahead of tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of her son’s death, Mrs Fergus, 45, spoke of her hopes to address the parole panel via a video link.

Speaking alongside her second husband, Stuart, 37, she said: “My message to them is don’t release him, I think Venables is still a danger to the public.”

Mrs Fergus, from Kirkby, Merseyside, believes there are indications that Venables is an “undiagnosed psychopath” who should be moved to a hospital unit.

“I have very serious concerns that the parole board’s approach to Venables is fundamentally flawed,” she added.

“People say children are not born evil but I strongly believe that he was.

“He has proven this by offending after his first release, with all the things he had on his computer. He had indecent images of children who were as young as two.

“To have killed a child and been released on licence and then collected these images on a computer, he can’t be right in the head.

“I’m not saying he should never be released, I don’t believe that. But now is not the right time because he is a danger.”

Venables and Thompson abducted James from the Bootle Strand shopping centre on Merseyside before torturing and killing him.

The two boys, who were playing truant, walked James around the streets of Liverpool for more than two miles, stopping occasionally to kick and punch him. They told adults who intervened that he was their brother.

After taking him to a nearby railway line, they left his body on the tracks in the hope it would be destroyed by a train.

The toddler had been splattered with blue paint and his battered head lay surrounded by a pile of bricks.

His body was found two days later by children playing on a freight railway line.

Mrs Fergus married electrician Stuart in 1998 following the end of her marriage to James’ father, Ralph. Mr Bulger, who is releasing a book called My James, spoke last week of how, in his darkest moments, he blamed his ex-wife for letting their son out of her sight – a reaction that now makes him feel deeply ashamed.

He also said he downed two bottles of whisky a day to blot out the pain and that he thought about killing himself in the wake of the tragedy.

‘It’s like it happened yesterday, it’s still very hard to get through. He was such a lovely little boy’

Two decades after her son was taken from a shopping centre and tortured to death, Denise Fergus admits her life is “still a struggle”. This Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of James’s murder and Mrs Fergus will visit the toddler’s grave before she and husband Stuart, 37, and sons Michael 19, Thomas, 14, and Leon, 13, spend the day at home.

“It’s like it happened yesterday, it’s still very hard to get through,” she said.

“You think to yourself that there shouldn’t be an anniversary of James’s death, there shouldn’t be an anniversary at all.

“What there should be are Christmases and birthdays with him, not mourning his death or placing flowers on a grave.”

“Stuart, my boys and myself and my whole family will all be going to the cemetery to place flowers down for James,” she added.

“That’s all I can do. I don’t want to start mourning again because I do have the three boys to consider.

“After that, me and Stuart will go home with the boys and we’ll just watch a movie or something together.”

Recalling memories of two-year-old James, Mrs Fergus described a “bubbly child who brightened up the room”.

“He loved reading, he knew his ABCs. He was a clever little boy,” she said. “He used to walk into the room and put his Michael Jackson video tape on and start dancing like Michael.

“He was a little entertainer, such a lovely little boy to have around. It was a pleasure to have had him, even though it was for such a short time.”