James Bulger's mother Denise Fergus says Jon Venables will kill again
James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus says Jon Venables will murder again if released from prison – as documentary chillingly recreates trial with child actors playing ‘pretty Jon’ and ‘tough’ Robert Thompson
- Denise Fergus , 55, will appear on James Bulger: The Trial, on Channel 5
- READ MORE: Jamie Bulger’s killer Jon Venables is granted a new parole hearing and could be released from prison within weeks
The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has revealed she believes his killer Jon Venables will attack another child if released from prison.
Denise Fergus, 55, will appear on James Bulger: The Trial, which airs on Channel 5 tomorrow.
The documentary tells the story of the trial of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, including speaking to both killer’s defence attorneys as well a jurors, the judge and journalists and court staff who attended the 1993 trial.
It will also chillingly recreate scenes from the trial, with child actors playing Venables and Thompson and Henry Globe, the prosecution barrister in the trial, reading out the real transcripts from Preston Sessions Court.
Denise, who has spent the last 30 years campaigning for justice for her son, didn’t attend the trial – but gave a statement to the court.
The documentary shows her reading the statement back for the first time since 1993.
Denise Fergus , 55, will appear on James Bulger: The Trial, which airs on Channel 5 tomorrow
It will also chillingly recreate scenes from the trial, with child actors playing Venables and Thompson and Henry Globe, the prosecution barrister in the trial, reading out court transcripts (actors are pictured)
Venables, 40, and Thompson , 39, were both aged just 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed the innocent two-year-old boy before leaving his mutilated body by a railway line in Liverpool 30 years ago. Venables is pictured aged 10
‘It’s not that I chose not to attend [the trial],’ Denise, who was pregnant with her second child at the time said.
‘It’s that I was told not to attend because the pressure would have gone to the baby, but I’ve got to think about the baby I was carrying too. It’s not only that I was grieving one but I was carrying another. I don’t want to be going through this.
‘I didn’t think I’d be able to read [the statement in court].
‘At the time had come from my heart, it’s been 30 years since I’ve last seen this and I can’t read it, I’ve described James in it, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to go back there, I know for a fact it’s played back in my mind, I read that I’m back to day one.’
Venables, 40, and Thompson, 39, were both aged just 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed the innocent two-year-old boy before leaving his mutilated body by a railway line in Liverpool 30 years ago.
The toddler was snatched from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.
While they were both found guilty of murder, both men were only sentenced to eight years behind bars because of their young age when they committed the crime.
James Bulger (pictured) was tragically killed by Venables and Robert Thompson. They kidnapped, tortured and killed the two-year-old
Robert Thompson (pictured) was also jailed as a ten-year-old boy but he was released in 2001 and has not reoffended since
They were released in 2001 with new identities and put on licence for life, but Venables has been recalled to prison twice, in 2010 and 2017, having been found to be in possession of indecent images of children.
The child murderer has been told that his case will be heard in the coming weeks despite his fears that a law change would prevent him being freed.
Denise and father Ralph Bulger, 56, are understood to have written statements in a bid to prevent Venables being released. It’s believed Justice Secretary Alex Chalk is in agreement with the parents.
In the new documentary, Denise also explains how she thought she finally had justice when Venables and Thompson were found guilty, only to be heartbroken with their sentencing.
‘Apart from losing James that was the hardest day of my life,’ she says.
‘I was sitting far from them, but I remember if I was closer I’d have been able to grab one of them, but I wasn’t there for that.
A surveillance camera shows the abduction of two-year-old James Bulger from the Bootle Strand shopping mall on February 12 1993
‘What was I gonna achieve? It would have me locked up.
‘The judge said ‘”you’re going to share very many years in prison” and i thought “we got justice at last”.
‘The “very many years” turned out to be less than eight years.
‘James life was worth so much more than less than eight years.
‘What they did was an adult crime and they should have been tried as adults, if that had been one of their children they wouldn’t have seen the light of day. I was disgusted.
‘My sister did say, “if you’re gonna take this on, you’re on for a long hard battle” and I said “bring it on”.
Child actors play the Jon and Robert, pictured sitting in the dock, in the new documentary
The documentary also explores how both killers argued a ‘cut throat’ defence, which meant blaming the other for the crime, while the defence lawyers also argued for ‘doli incapax’ – a legal term that means a child is incapable of forming the criminal intent to commit an offence (child actors are pictured)
Laurence Lee, defence solicitor for Jon Veneables, said that he was shocked when he discovered his client had reoffended, saying that he thought it was inevitable for Thompson (child actors are pictured)
‘I’m still fighting justice, I strongly believe [Jon] is going to go on and do another murder.
James Bulger: How the murder of a toddler shocked the nation
The murder of James Bulger was a vicious crime that shocked Britain.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10-years-old on February 12, 1993, when they abducted the two-year-old before brutally torturing and killing him.
The crime made the boys the youngest killers in modern English history.
The duo snatched James from outside a butcher’s shop in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993, while his mother popped into a store for just a few seconds.
James’ mutilated body was found on a railway line in Walton, Liverpool, two days later.
The boys were playing truant from school, and CCTV showed them observing local children at the shopping centre, appearing to be ‘selecting a target’.
They were then captured on camera taking the boy away at 3.42pm, before leading him on a two-and-a-half mile walk through Liverpool to the village of Walton.
Venables and Thompson were seen by 38 people during the walk, and were twice challenged by bystanders because James was crying and had a bump on his forehead.
But they were able to convince the concerned people that James was their little brother and continued on their way.
They led James to a railway line near the disused Walton & Anfield Railway Station where they began torturing him – including throwing paint in his eye, pelting him with stones and bricks and dropping an iron bar on his head.
After the body was found, police launched an appeal showing the low-resolution CCTV images of the boy.
The breakthrough came when one woman recognised Venables, who she knew had skipped school with Thompson on that day, and contacted police.
They were charged with murder on February 20 and forensic tests confirmed they had the same paint on their clothes as was found on James’ body.
Around 500 protesters turned out for their initial magistrates’ court hearing due to the public outcry against the crime.
The subsequent trial at Preston Crown Court and the boys were considered to be ‘mature enough’ to know they were doing something ‘seriously wrong’.
Venables and Thompson were found guilty on November 24, 1993, with the judge describing them as ‘cunning and wicked’.
Reporting restrictions on their names were also lifted as it was considered in the public interest to do so.
Their parents were moved to different parts of the country and also received new identities due to death threats against them.
‘No matter what I’m not going to get James back, I’m fighting for other families, I don’t want them to go through what I went through, thirty years of fighting’.
The documentary also explores how both killers argued a ‘cut throat’ defence, which meant blaming the other for the crime, while the defence lawyers also argued for ‘doli incapax’ – a legal term that means a child is incapable of forming the criminal intent to commit an offence.
However, as the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is ten, both boys were tried as adults.
‘When my lads were growing they would have known the difference from right and wrong from a very early age,’ Denise said.
‘Are they that dumb at 10? An animal killing an animal, a child killing a child, age doesn’t matter,’ she added.
The documentary features contributions from the prosecution and defence teams, as well as journalists, Blake Morrison and David James Smith, who attended the entire trial.
Court artist, Prisicilla Coleman said that she remembered the trial well because the boys seemed so young.
‘I remember Veneables a lot because he had a really pretty little face, he looked like he was really going to cry a lot, all the time, he was a big baby, but he looked so sweet,’ she said.
‘The other boy in contrast, had this really burr haircut, looked like he was going into prison, made him look like tough little boy, he acted like a tough little boy too, you could see he thought “oh I’m bored!”
Laurence Lee, defence solicitor for Jon Veneables, said that he was shocked when he discovered his client had reoffended, saying that he thought it was inevitable for Thompson.
He also explained how Veneables was curious about his title of ‘QC’.
‘When the jury was out, we wanted to leave the family alone, but we thought it was only fair we spoke to them.
‘Jon was intrigued about everything to do with a QC
‘He said: “What does QC stand for” and I said “Queen’s council” he said “have you ever met the queen?” and I said “yes, as a matter of fact I have at the queen’s garden party?”.
‘He then asked if she was there and I said “yes”.
‘He then told me “I would have love to have been there in a tree with a fishing rod, I could have taken her crown”.
‘I said “young man you have enough problems already without being charged with stealing the crown jewels”‘.
He added the whole trial was ‘surreal’ and that the dock had to be raised 18 inches so the children could see over it.
Mr Lee also revealed how he still thinks about the trial today and recently visited the court for another trial which left him ‘bursting into tears’.
Alan Barry, the foreman of the jury, added that the jurors were surprised the ‘kids were well dressed and clean’.
‘It shocked everyone, they were expecting some scruffy kid on the street,’ he explained.
He added that after delivering the verdict there were ‘gasps’.
‘I turned to the side and Thompson looked at me as if to say “you don’t know what you’re doing”.
Blake Morrison, a journalist at the trial, added: ‘There had been so much about them in the media, they were monsters, but probably they were kids.
‘But they weren’t even adolescents. I pictured them as much bigger, they were primary school kids, they were small’.
The Trial of James Bulger Wednesday 6th September – 9pm, Channel 5
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