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Jailed Venables 'gets new identity'

Killer Jon Venables will be given a new identity at a cost to the taxpayer of £250,000, it has been reported.

He was jailed for two years after admitting downloading pornographic images of toddlers.

The Daily Telegraph reported Venables - who along with Robert Thompson battered and murdered two-year-old James Bulger - will be issued with a new birth certificate, national insurance number and other identity documents at a cost of £250,000 when he is released. But a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said it did not accept it was "inevitable" he would be given a new identity.

Venables and his friend Thompson were just 10 when they killed James in Bootle, Merseyside, and became national hate figures. They were jailed for life in 1993 and given new identities when they were released on licence in 2001.

The 27-year-old - who still faces death threats - appeared via videolink at the Old Bailey on Friday under unprecedented secrecy, with only the judge able to see him. After 16 years living in the shadows, just four disembodied words were heard from the killer - answering "yes" to his name and pleading "guilty" to three charges concerning child pornography.

James's mother, Denise Fergus, sat impassively in court wearing a "Justice for James" badge as details of the crimes, and Venables' life since release from jail, were read out. She later condemned his sentence as "simply not enough".

Speaking after the hearing, Venables' solicitor, John Gibson, said his client was "extremely remorseful" and knows he has "badly let down" everyone who has tried to help him.

The court heard he had contacted his probation officer because he feared his true identity had been discovered. The officer arrived at his address and told him to collect his belongings, and he was found trying to delete files from his computer and to remove his hard drive with a tin opener.

Sentencing Venables, Mr Justice Bean said that as he was still on licence for the "horrific" murder of James, he would not be automatically released on serving half his two-year term, and when he was let out would be up to the parole board to decide. He was also put on the sex offenders register for 10 years and banned from working with children for life.

Following Venables' sentence, some media organisations had applied to be able to report his new name. But lawyers for the killer and the Attorney General voiced concerns about the move.


From Belfast Telegraph