The toddler was killed by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in a gruesome attack in Liverpool in February 1993.
The toddler was abducted, tortured and killed by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in a gruesome attack in February 1993.
Jon Venables has twice since been returned to jail for possessing images of child sex abuse – and plans for criminal justice reform by the British government may now see him locked up for good.
James’ mum Denise (54) has said the news has made her “feel hopeful for the first time in 30 years.”
"What we have been promised has made the last 30 years of pushing for James worth it,” she told the Mirror, revealing the details of a meeting she had with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab last summer.
Under a complete parole overhaul, there are plans to introduce a “two strikes and you stay in prison” system, Denise said.
“That would apply to the three most serious types of criminals –paedophiles, child killers and terrorists. There would not be endless chances at rehabilitating anyone who had committed this type of crime.
“And that meant, under Raab’s planned new law, Venables would never see the light of day.”
The grieving mum has called the plan “historic,” admitting she couldn’t believe it might finally happen.
"In that meeting I was hearing words I’d always wanted to hear. His lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear it all because I never believed I would hear those words.
“The words that under his plans, Venables would never walk free again.
“I didn’t think this day would ever come. I froze.”
She revealed this Christmas was the first where she has not had to worry that the new year will bring the release of one of her son’s killers.
"I feel that after a rollercoaster 30 years, this year could be our best yet thanks to promises we have been made.
“I was nervous. I suppose that’s what 30 years of being ignored will do to you.
"The pressure of finally getting to that room and seeing the thick folders piled up on his desk, my son’s case notes there in front of me with handwritten annotation alongside pictures of Raab’s children, suddenly all got too much,” she told the Mirror.
“But when he told me that Venables would not be going free under his plans, a weight lifted. I haven’t wanted to share that until now. He knew all about James and the subsequent twists and turns of my fight.”
The mum admitted she will never forgive Venables and Thompson for what they did to her young son.
"I know they’ll ask me, ‘will you forgive me?’ And I know my answer will be ‘never.’
“The only time I think about those two now is if I’ve really got to. Otherwise, I don’t.”
February 12 will be the 30th anniversary of James’ murder, when the two ten-year-old boys lured him from a shopping centre in Liverpool.
The pair were convicted of James’ murder in November 1993, jailed indefinitely at the age of 10.
They were given new identities at the age of 18, being released after eight years in young offender institutions.
Thompson has not reoffended, though Venables has been returned to prison in 2010 and 2017 for possessing child sex abuse materials.
He was refused parole in 2020, but has since made a new bid for release.