Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Bulger killer's parole bid fails

Jon Venables abducted two-year-old James Bulger from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside

The father of murdered toddler James Bulger was "relieved" his son's killer Jon Venables lost his bid to be released on parole, but having to go through the process again within two years "adds to the suffering", his solicitor has said.

Ralph Bulger, who told the Parole Board of the "daily nightmare" of life since his son's murder in February 1993, faces having to explain how he has been affected again when Venables' case is considered within two years.

"To have to explain again and afresh the daily nightmare in consequence of the murder adds to the suffering," his solicitor Robin Makin said.

Venables, one of the two 10-year-old boys who abducted two-year-old James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, was jailed for two years last July after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

The Parole Board had to decide whether Venables still posed a risk to the public and will have considered the nature of the offence, the prisoner's offending history, and his progress in jail.

It will also have considered any psychologists' reports, probation officers' reports, prison officers' reports, any statistical risk assessments that have been completed and the view of the Secretary of State.

Mr Makin said Mr Bulger was "relieved" but raised concerns over the family's ordeal being repeated next year.

"The Parole Board will reconsider matters next year and this will be another distressing process," he said.

"Unless something changes, it will be compounded by the lack of transparency and reasoning.

"To have to deal with such a serious matter as if it were a game of battleships, not knowing whether the Parole Board have evidence and have taken it into account, is quite unacceptable. The Parole Board should give reasons for its decisions."

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