Jon Venables is REFUSED to parole – with James Bulger’s family saying they can ‘rest easy’


Jon Venables, depicted as a boy, has been kept anonymous for life by the courts

Jon Venables, depicted as a boy, has been kept anonymous for life by the courts

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were found guilty of murdering Bulger in November 1993 and sentenced to custody until they were 18.

They were released in 2001 at the age of 18 and were given a new identity to protect him from the risk of vigilante attacks.

They became the subject of so-called “ Mary Bell orders, ” lifelong anonymity court orders named after Mary Bell, who was found guilty of murdering two boys at a hearing in Newcastle in 1968.

Only six people are subject to the orders; Venables, Thompson, Bell, Maxine Carr, who was convicted of disrupting justice in the Soham murders, and two brothers who tortured two younger boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire, in 2009, aged 10 and 11.

At the time of Venables’s first release from prison, a psychiatrist ruled that he posed no danger to the public and that he was very unlikely to commit any more offenses.

Years later, it was revealed that Venables had been detained at Vardy House – a small eight-bed section of Red Bank’s security unit in St Helens on Merseyside – where he was reportedly making so much progress that he was held there for eight years, on short-term remand.

Shortly before his release in 2001, when he was 17, Venables allegedly had sex with a woman who worked at the Red Bank’s security unit where he was being held. The allegations were investigated and a female staff member charged with sexual misconduct was suspended from never to return.

The release of Venables under his new identity went on and he is known to live independently in March 2002 – some time after that, he began a relationship with a woman who had a five-year-old child, though he denies ever meeting them.

He is said to have had a number of ‘younger girlfriends’ at the time, suggesting he was enjoying delayed adolescence.

Apparently diminished his surveillance caused him drinking and drug problems, and he compromised his identity at least twice by telling friends he was a convicted murderer.

In September 2008, he was arrested on suspicion of affair after a drunken brawl and received a formal warning from the probation service for violating the good conduct conditions of his license.

Venables and Robert Thompson were released eight years after they were first incarcerated

Venables and Robert Thompson were released eight years after they were first incarcerated

Venables and Robert Thompson were released eight years after they were first incarcerated

Later that year, Venables was warned about cocaine possession after being found with a small amount of the Class A drug.

Later, when a probation officer visited his home in Cheshire to discuss his fears that he might be in danger, he attempted to destroy his computer’s hard drive.

The hard drive was later investigated by police, who found it contained dozens of indecent images of children.

Venables admitted that he posed online as a 35-year-old woman who abused her eight-year-old daughter and returned to prison.

During his last imprisonment, he was given a new identity because of the risk of a previous security breach. Venables was again paroled in 2013 and took on his fourth new identity.

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison after being found guilty of having more than 1,000 indecent images of children in February 2018.

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