James Bulger killer Jon Venables jailed for 40 months for possession of more than 1,000 indecent images of children

James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus says in new book she is haunted by so many ‘what ifs’
James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus says in new book she is haunted by so many ‘what ifs’

Jon Venables, one of the killers of James Bulger, has been jailed for 40 months for possessing more than a thousand indecent images of children and a “disgusting and sickening” child abuse manual.

Venables served eight years for the murder of two-year-old James, and was released on license in 2001.

He returned to prison last November after he was caught with the pictures.

James’s mother Denise Fergus and father Ralph Bulger were in court for the hearing – the second time Venables has admitted offences linked to child abuse images.

The court heard that Venables told police he had “stupid urges” and confessed to using the dark web to browse for material when he was arrested last year.

Toddler James Bulger pictured in February 1993
Toddler James Bulger pictured in February 1993

Officers found images of children mainly aged between six and 13, although some were younger.

They also found a paedophile manual aimed at teaching abusers how to have sex with children “safely”.

Venables and his friend Robert Thompson, tortured and killed James in Liverpool in 1993 when they were both aged 10.

At a hearing at the Old Bailey, the defendant, referred to as AB, pleaded guilty to four counts via video link from custody.

The court heard that a report had found that Venables was a “high risk of real harm to children” in the future.

It states that he has a “long-term and profound interest in children”.

They were granted lifelong anonymity with new identities when they were freed.

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Venables’ lawyer told the court: “He lived a relatively normal life where he worked hard for a living.”

Mitigating, Edward Fitzgerald QC said: “He has asked me to apologise to all those he has let down. He apologises to the family of James Bulger for the renewed distress he has caused by his renewed offending.”

James’s mother Denise Fergus has this week spoken out about her feelings towards her son’s killers, saying they were ‘rewarded’ for their horrific crime.

Denise Fergus appears on ‘Loose Women’ (Rex features)
Denise Fergus appears on ‘Loose Women’ (Rex features)

Speaking in a new documentary Ms Fergus said: “I’ve never had justice for James.

“I never said ‘lock them up and throw away the key’. I thought doing a proper sentence in a proper prison would be justice for James. But that never happened.

“They never got punished for what they done. In fact, if anything, they were rewarded.”

She also told presenter Sir Trevor McDonald: “I did say that if they weren’t punished properly, then they would go on to re-offend and that’s exactly what happened with Venables.”

The documentary, James Bulger: A Mother’s Story, will be broadcast on ITV tonight (Thursday), 25 years after the toddler was abducted from Bootle Strand shopping centre.