James Bulger's father loses bid to make his son's killer Jon Venables' identity public
The two-year-old's murder sent shockwaves across the UK in 1993 after it was revealed that the murderers were mere 10-year-olds.
Murdered toddler James Bulger's father and uncle on Monday lost their bid to have more details released publicly about their child's killer Jon Venables.
The two-year-old's murder sent shockwaves across the UK in 1993 after it was revealed that the murderers were mere 10-year-olds. The toddler's parents since then have repeatedly requested the identities of the killers — Robert Thompson and John Venables — to be revealed as they do not deserve a life of anonymity.
A worldwide order was made in 2001, allowing Venables to live anonymously ever since his release from a life sentence for kidnapping, torturing and murdering the two-year-old in February 1993. Venables and Thompson had snatched the toddler from a shopping center in Bootle, Merseyside, and they later tortured and killed him.
The child's father and uncle had asked the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, to consider altering the order so that Venables' information could be revealed. Ralph and Jimmy Bulger's lawyers have argued that some details about the killer and his life are "common knowledge" and are easily accessible online.
Both Venables and Thompson were given lifelong anonymity by a High Court judge and have lived under new identities ever since their release from custody. However, the court order associated with Venables was amended after he was convicted of further offenses in 2010 and February 2018.
Sir Andrew, however, refused to change the terms of the order, which was formulated to protect Venables from "being put to death," according to BBC.
"My decision is in no way a reflection on the applicants themselves, for whom there is a profoundest sympathy. The reality is that the case for varying the injunction has simply not been made," he said.
Venables, who is 35-years-old now, sentenced for three years and four months last year after he admitted surfing the dark web from extreme child abuse images and possessing a "sickening" pedophile manual, according to the Daily Mail. He was later charged after officials found over 1,000 such indecent images on his computer.
Reports state that he told police officials that he was plagued by "stupid urges."
After Venables' conviction, the lawyers for the Bulgers told the High Court last week that something had "gone wrong" with his rehabilitation and they should be able to scrutinize his handling by the authorities, considering they are victims.
"This a very high-profile matter and indeed it is one where the current situation is unprecedented, in which we now have a child murderer who has, as an adult, committed two sets of serious sexual offenses and is undoubtedly a danger to the public," Solicitor-advocate Robin Makin, for the Bulgers told the court.
The advocate added, saying it appeared that "no lessons have been learned."
"The point is that (Venables) has been trained by the state to be dishonest and hide his identity, and to no doubt develop techniques for dealing with such matters," Markin said. "In order for the applicants to exercise their rights as victims and to deal with the process going forward, there should be disclosure of information akin to what was disclosed when the offending occurred in 2010.”
However, lawyers representing the Attorney General’s office and Venables have argued that there is a need to maintain the original order.