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‘No cover-up’ over James Bulger killer’s tryst with warder

A council has denied “covering up” allegations that one of James Bulger's killers had sex with a female member of prison staff before he was released on parole.

The Sunday Times said the incident between Jon Venables and the woman was said to have taken place in an empty property at a secure unit while she was supposed to be looking after him during a walk in the grounds.

The newspaper said the encounter was believed to have taken place in 2000 when Venables was aged 17 — just months before the parole board sanctioned his release in June 2001.

It added the staff member at the Red Bank secure unit in Merseyside was accused of sexual misconduct, suspended and ultimately did not return to work.

Venables, now 28, had stayed at the centre in Newton-le-Willows — which is run by St Helens Council — since the age of 10 when he was first remanded in custody ahead of his murder trial.

He was subsequently convicted of the abduction and murder of two-year-old James, along with Robert Thompson, who was also aged 10 at the time.

The Sunday Times alleged it was “many weeks” after the allegations at Red Bank surfaced that the matter was referred to the Home Office.

A council spokesman said: “St Helens Council totally denies any cover-up. Any allegations were thoroughly investigated by an independent team on the order of the Home Office and chaired by Arthur de Frischling, a retired prison governor.”

Venables and Thompson lured the youngster from a shopping centre in Bootle in February 1993 and walked him several miles to a railway line in Walton where they killed him.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice refused to comment on the allegations of sexual misconduct or what the prison service's role in the matter was at the time.

Venables was jailed for two years last July after pleading guilty to child porn offences.

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