'ultimate betrayal' | 

James Bulger’s dad makes desperate appeal as son’s killer Jon Venables could be freed in weeks

Sources have said Jon Venables has a ‘strong chance’ of going free because of his ‘positive’ progress inside

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

The father of James Bulger has appealed to Britain’s Home Secretary Dominic Raab to block the release of one of his son’s killers.

Jon Venables was just ten-years-old when he and Robert Thompson, also ten, murdered James who was aged two in Bootle in February 1993.

The pair kidnapped the toddler from a shopping centre in Bootle before torturing and murdering him.

They were both released from prison on licence with new identities in 2001 but Venables ended up back behind bars in 2010 and 2017 for possessing indecent images of children.

He has also been arrested for his involvement in a drunken brawl and possession of cocaine.

The killer passed the halfway point of a 40-month jail term in October and is entitled to another parole hearing within two years of his last bid, in September 2020.

Sources have said the 40-year-old has a “strong chance” of going free because of his “positive” progress inside.

James' father, Ralph described the idea of Venables walking around as a free man as they mark 30 years of losing their beautiful boy as “the ultimate betrayal”.

He said Justice Secretary Dominic Rabb should use his power and influence to block Venables' return to society.

“Mr Raab has pledged to crack down on the most dangerous criminals in this country.

“Venables should be top of that list and never see daylight again.”

Mr Bulger said a parole hearing could be held in “early 2023”

He said Venables was a risk to society and a continued danger to children.

He added: “I’m bracing for the worst news because I’ve no trust left in the warped system of this country. But Dominic Raab can change that.”

His pleas have been echoed by his ex-wife, James’ mum Denise Fergus

Venables was recalled to jail for a second time in 2017 for hoarding nearly 1,200 child abuse images.

The Sun told earlier this year how reports, including the views of prison officers, psychiatrists and even Venables himself, had been drawn up to form a highly sensitive dossier.

The Parole Board is now assessing that file.

It must first decide whether to hold a full oral hearing and seek evidence from witnesses, or just assess the case on the documents in front of them.

Sources say Venables’ notoriety, and history of repeat offending means an oral hearing is a “racing certainty” in this case.

He will be offered the chance to appear before the panel.

But Ralph added: “We know that Venables will never be rehabilitated.

“He is very sick and dangerous.

"This is a fully-grown killer paedophile the authorities want to release back into the community without anyone knowing who he is.”

New powers allowing ministers to block the release of dangerous prisoners in the interest of public safety have not yet come into effect but are a “government priority”, according to the Ministry of Justice.


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