Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD


Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:

CNN Mobile

CNN Websites



CNN International



Bulger father calls for 'restraint'

Denise Fergus
Denise Fergus says "someone out there" will be waiting for her son's killers  

LIVERPOOL, England -- The father of murdered James Bulger and Home Secretary David Blunkett have led calls for "restraint" following the decision to grant parole to the toddler's two killers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

The decision by the Parole Board to release Jon Venables and Robert Thompson on life licences has been met by fears that the pair will face the constant threat of revenge attacks by vigilantes.

James Bulger's mother, Denise Fergus, who described the board's decision as "disgusting," said her son's killers would never be safe.

bush The James Bulger Case
  • Case overview
  • Killers' new lives
  • Internet threat
  • Memories of horror
  • Killers and victims
  • Blunkett statement
  • Timeline of events
  From TIME
  • Killer boys grow up
  • Photo essay

  Court rulings
  • 1997: House of Lords
  • 1999: European Court
  • 2000: Lord Chief Justice

  Related sites
  • Justice for James
  • UK Parole Board

  News archive
  • Pleas for restraint
  • Press breach probed
  • Reformers welcome move
  • Parents' fury at release
  • Freedom for killers
  • Killers face hurdle
  • Anger at decision
  • Sentence review due
  • European court ruling


"Thompson and Venables may think they have got off lightly and can hide," she said on Friday.

"But I know different. I know no matter where they go, someone out there is waiting."

In Liverpool, where feelings about the murder still run high, a convoy of trucks drove in protest through town Saturday.

"Once a murderer, always a murderer," proclaimed the banner on one. "Don't give them a second chance," said another.

On Sunday, the News of the World tabloid newspaper quoted Venables' mother, Susan, as saying she feared her son would be killed by vigilantes within four weeks.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has acknowledged that the killers could face real dangers after their release.

Speaking through his lawyer, James's father Ralph Bulger called for "restraint" to be shown.

Bulger's solicitor Robin Makin told ITN: "I think the time has really come for there to be restraint and for matters to fade away to allow everybody some time to reflect and allow what has been set up to take effect."

Venables and Thompson -- now both aged 18 -- were 10-year-old schoolboys when they lured two-year-old James from a shopping centre in Bootle, near Liverpool, in February 1993 as he waited outside a butcher's shop for his mother.

They dragged the toddler through town to a railway line, where they hit him with bricks and metal bars, poured paint in his eyes and finally placed him on the tracks, where a train cut him in half.

A High Court injunction has been set up to protect the identities and whereabout of Venable and Thompson from being published once they are released.

But the injunction applies only to British media, and many fear that photos of the boys and details of their whereabouts could be released on the Internet.

Publications in Spain, Italy and Germany already have said they would publish photos of the killers.

British lawyers are already investigating whether a newspaper has broken the injunction.

The Attorney General is investigating reports that the regional Manchester Evening News published details relating to the whereabouts of Venables and Thompson.

A statement from the Home Office said: "The Attorney General is considering as a matter of urgency whether it would be appropriate to issue proceedings for contempt in light of this."

Blunkett, speaking about the issue for the first time since he confirmed on Friday that Venables and Thompson would be released after eight years in custody, voiced concern at the heated atmosphere which has developed since his announcement and called for everyone involved in the case to "take a deep breath."

He told BBC 1's Breakfast with Frost: "It is the most horrendous case and I understand very well the very strong feelings, but there is nothing can bring Jamie back and we have now to address ourselves to the future.

"And the greatest safeguard we can offer to people in the community is to rehabilitate Thompson and Venables effectively, to have automatic recall if they break the licence or in any way show that they are a danger to themselves or others, and ensure that we don't from the comfort of offices or their own home have others either inciting or facilitating any action against them."

Asked whether he feared that Thompson and Venables might come to harm, he said: "I think if people continue to provide the emotional adrenaline for others who are sick of mind to actually go and do that, then there will be a danger.

"I think we all need to take a deep breath and to view what is said and done as we would view it if it were taking place in any other country.

"We are not in the Mid West in the mid 19th century, we are in Britain in the 21st century and we will deal with things effectively and we will deal with them in a civilised manner."

• Parole Board
• Home Office
• Manchester Evening News

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.



Back to the top