Bulger murder anniversary marked
A community will mourn as it marks 20 years since the brutal murder of toddler James Bulger.
The two-year-old was abducted, tortured and killed by child murderers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson in Liverpool 20 years ago.
Venables and classmate Thompson, who were just 10 years old at the time, abducted James from the Bootle Strand shopping centre before carrying out the murder which shocked the nation.
The Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, said: "The whole community join the family and friends of James to remember his tragically short life and to share in their grief. I pray that the life and death of James will always remind us of how vulnerable our children are."
Venables and Thompson were jailed for life but released on licence with new identities in 2001. Venables, 30, had his parole revoked in 2010 and was jailed for two years after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children. Now he has made a fresh application for release and the hearing is expected to take place in the coming months.
Speaking on Monday, James' mother Denise Fergus said she hopes to personally address the Venables parole hearing. Mrs Fergus will argue that Venables is a psychopath who remains a danger to society. Mrs Fergus, 45, said: "My message to them (the parole panel) is don't release him, I think Venables is still a danger to the public."
Mrs Fergus, from Kirkby, Merseyside, believes there are indications that Venables is an "undiagnosed psychopath" who should be moved to a hospital unit. "I have very serious concerns that the parole board's approach to Venables is fundamentally flawed," she added. "People say children are not born evil but I strongly believe that he was."
The two boys, who were playing truant from school, walked James around the streets of Liverpool for more than two miles, stopping occasionally to kick and punch him. After taking him to a nearby railway line, they left his body on the tracks in the hope it would be destroyed by a train. The toddler had been splattered with blue paint and his battered head lay surrounded by a pile of bricks.
Mrs Fergus married electrician Stuart in 1998 following the end of her marriage to James' father, Ralph. She said she aims to mark the anniversary by going with her family to place flowers on James' grave.
Mr Bulger, who is releasing a book called My James, spoke last week of how, in his darkest moments, he blamed Denise for letting their son out of her sight - a reaction which now makes him feel deeply ashamed. He also said he downed two bottles of whisky a day to blot out the pain and that he thought about killing himself in the wake of the tragedy.