Investigation into alleged leak on relocation of Bulger's killers
The British Attorney General was last night investigating reports that a newspaper had published details relating to the whereabouts of the killers of the two-year-old Jamie Bulger, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The publication appeared to breach a High Court injunction. Only hours earlier, the Parole Board had decided to release the two youths on life licence. Strict guidelines restricting media coverage of the pair were imposed by the High Court. Family Division President Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said they had to be protected due to a "real possibility of serious physical harm and possible death from vengeful members of the public or from the Bulger family".
Eight years after they abducted James Bulger from a shopping precinct in Bootle on Merseyside, then tortured and murdered the toddler, Thompson and Venables will be given new identities and public funds to help them build new lives in separate locations.
The killing of a child by two schoolboys who themselves were only 10 years old at the time, horrified and shocked the public. The family of James Bulger last night condemned the Parole Board's decision, insisting his killers had not been adequately punished. James's mother, Mrs Denise Fergus, accused the British government and the Parole Board of being "sucked in" by two "devious murderers" and she demanded protection.
"James's life was taken in a way that no one could imagine, and for what? Thompson and Venables may think they have got off lightly and can hide. But I know different. I know no matter where they go, someone out there is waiting."
Under the conditions of their release Thompson and Venables, who are now both 18, are forbidden from contacting or attempting to contact the Bulger family and each other. They cannot visit Merseyside without written permission from the Probation Service and will be rearrested and immediately returned to custody if probation officers consider their behaviour constitutes a threat to the public.
It was unclear last night whether Thompson and Venables had already left the secure accommodation where they were detained during the past eight years.