James Bulger's father in legal battle to reveal child killer Jon Venables' true identity

Anonymous – the identify of Jon Venables could be revealed as the family of murdered toddler James Bulger challenge a court order which allows him to live under a cloak of anonymity (Picture: PA)

James Bulger’s mother has said that Jon Venables should keep his anonymity.

While the father and uncle of the murdered toddler have launched a legal challenge against an order made almost two decades ago which has allowed Venables to enjoy a protected identity.

An application by Ralph and Jimmy Bulger was made public at the High Court today for the first time at a hearing in London.

Sir James Munby, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, was asked to deal with preliminary issues in the case which relates to an order originally granted in 2001.

During the proceedings, Sir James, President of the High Court’s Family Division, confirmed that James Bulger’s mother Denise was not involved in the application.

Bulger’s father and uncle are represented by solicitor-advocate Robin Makin, who told the judge he needed material relating to the proceedings dating back 18 or 19 years to prepare his case properly.

Sir James said he did not understand the relevance of that material to the new application.

James Bulger’s mother says Jon Venables should keep anonymity despite father’s High Court bid

Mr Makin said it was because the injunction was granted on the basis that Venables was rehabilitated and would not re-offend.

However Venables has since been convicted on two separate occasions, most recently over possession of indecent images of children in February this year.

Sir James pressed Mr Makin to explain exactly what he is seeking in the application – whether it was a variation of the order or a discharge.

Venables has been enjoying a cloak of anonymity since his release from a life jail sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of two-year-old James Bulger 25 years ago.

The toddler was murdered by 10-year-olds Venables and Robert Thompson after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993.

Both child killers were later granted lifelong anonymity by a High Court judge and lived under new identities following their release.

James Bulger was murdered 25 years ago

But Venables has since been convicted and sent back to jail over indecent images of children.

In February, he was jailed for three years and four months after admitting surfing the dark web for extreme child abuse images and possessing a “sickening” paedophile manual.

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He was charged after police found more than 1,000 indecent images on his computer.

It was the second time he had been caught with such images and when he was arrested he told police he was plagued by “stupid urges”.

James’s mother, Denise Fergus, and father, Ralph Bulger, attended the Old Bailey when Venables was sentenced in February.

Ms Fergus said on Tuesday that she is not involved in the High Court proceedings.

In a statement she said: “I understand the motivation for the application, but my concern is that if Venables were known by his own name, it could lead to vigilante action and innocent people being hurt. Beyond that, I have no further comment to make.”

Sir James said the case would return to court for further directions on a future date.

The latest case connected to the killer, scheduled before the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby – the most senior family judge in England and Wales – is listed by a number followed by the name Bulger and the fact that it will be held in open court.