The mother of murdered James Bulger has spoken of her regret nearly 25 years on from his shocking death, saying she still blames herself for letting go of his hand as she went to pay for pork chops.
The toddler was tortured and killed by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson in Liverpool in 1993 after they abducted the two-year-old from the Bootle Strand shopping centre.
The pair, who were just 10 years old at the time, were jailed for life but released on licence with new identities in 2001.
Earlier this week, Venables was charged over indecent images of children for a second time.
Nearly 25 years on from James Bulger’s horrific murder, his mother Denise Fergus said the final hours she spent with her son will “be etched on my mind until my dying day”.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, she said: “February 12, 1993, was the day I stopped sleeping and I haven’t had a full night’s rest since.”
She wrote: “People often ask me if I blame myself for what happened that day – for taking my eyes off him for that split second; for letting go of his hand as I looked for my purse; for not seeing what the CCTV footage later showed: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson beckoning James away from my side and out of the shop at 3.39pm.
“If I’d turned right instead of left, I’d have saved his life. The answer is: of course I do. There aren’t the words to describe how I still feel now, every day. I was the one who let go of his hand; I was the one there meant to protect him.”
She added her biggest regret was not turning right out of the butcher’s as she went to search for her son, as she would have been able to see her child being abducted.
“If I had taken the right turn and gone around the corner, I would have seen James being led away, just four short minutes after he had left my side, trustingly holding hands with the boys who were about to murder him”.