JAMES BULGER MOTHER: TELL US WHAT JON VENABLES HAS DONEMINISTERS were last night facing growing public fury over the secrecy surrounding the return to jail of one of James Bulger’s killers, Jon Venables.
Government officials have slapped a worldwide injunction on disclosure of any details about murderer Jon Venables breaching the terms of his release.
Despite the rising clamour for information they refuse to say whether he committed a new offence or which prison he was sent to.
But the British public, having spent £6.25million protecting the killers’ identities, insist they have a right to know exactly what Venables has done to be recalled to jail.
It is being claimed that drug taking and Venables’ increasingly violent temper were behind the latest events but James Bulger’s parents last night demanded firm answers from Justice Secretary Jack Straw. James’s mother, Denise Fergus, told friends: “Everyone should know the full circumstances surrounding the arrest of my son’s
murderer. Venables must have done something very serious to be in breach of his parole and if that is so everyone, especially me, should be told.”
Mrs Fergus, 42, added: “For Jack Straw to say Venables has been taken back into custody without explaining what he has done is callous and insensitive.”
James’s father Ralph Bulger, 43, said: “What has the Government got to hide? I only hope to God another
child has not been killed. We have a right to know why he is back in jail.” Confusion about the latest twist in the horrific case deepened yesterday when even Home Secretary Alan Johnson admitted the public had a “right to know” about the reason for the murderer’s return to custody.
He said: “I believe the public do have a right to know and I believe they will know all the facts in due course. But I must in no way prejudice the future criminal justice proceedings,” he said.
However, he was humiliated within minutes when the Ministry of Justice said Mr Johnson had only been speaking about cases in general.
Venables and fellow killer Robert Thompson were both aged 10 when they snatched James from a shopping centre in Liverpool on February 13, 1993.
The two-year-old’s battered and tortured body was later found on a railway line just two miles away. Venables and Thompson were convicted of murder and given compulsory life sentences.
But in 2001 they were both freed on life licences and granted life-long anonymity. However, they were warned they could be returned to jail for the rest of their lives if their release conditions were breached.
These conditions included not committing further offences, not contacting each other, not approaching the Bulger family and staying away from Merseyside.
Mr Bulger said he only learned of Venables’ return to custody, which is understood to have happened last week, when a police officer and Home Office officials called at his Merseyside home on Tuesday.
He said: “I always said that the judges and politicians who let James’s killers go free had his blood on their hands because they just didn’t care enough about the precious life of my little boy.
“Knowing one of them is behind bars again is little comfort when they won’t even tell us what he has done. It is one more kick in the teeth for James and his family. We campaigned long and hard and fought to keep both of James’s killers in prison but no one would listen.
“Our legal system danced on the grave of my innocent son without a hint of shame or compassion by letting these murderers go free.”
James Bulger’s uncle Jimmy Bulger also demanded to know what had prompted the return to custody. He said: “These boys were diagnosed as psychopaths and as far as I am aware there is no cure for that.
“We warned that they were not safe to be let out of jail but once again we were trampled on by a so-called justice system that seems to care more about James’s killers than this little boy’s life.
“The whole thing is disgusting and smacks of a cover-up. When is the Home Office going to tell the truth about what really happened?”
As public revulsion at the secrecy grew, former detective Albert Kirby, who headed the Bulger investigation, said it was unlikely Venables was recalled for a minor infringement of his licence conditions.
He said there “must have been a build-up of incidents” for the action to have been taken and he called for the Government to reveal the reason for Venables’ recall.
He said: “It would help to clarify and put this to rest once and for all if the public did have some indication of what it is he has done.
“Not where he is or details like that but the reason why his probation has been revoked and he is back inside. It’s going to be asking the questions why is he there and did the authorities fail in making the assessments of his suitability to come back into society.”
Venables, now 27, will appear before a hearing of the Parole Board within 28 days of being recalled, where the details of the breach will be examined. Such hearings are not normally open to the public.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Straw said: “I’m sorry that I cannot give more information at this stage on the nature of the alleged breach. “I know there is an intense public interest in why he has been recalled. I would like to give that information but I’m sorry that for good reasons I can’t and that’s in the public interest.
“But the public also need to be reassured that action was taken properly and promptly to recall him to prison and there will now be proceedings before the Parole Board to determine whether he should remain in custody.” THE EXPRESS