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Jon Venables: The Dreaded Murderer of James Bulger Continues To Rot In Prison

Jon Venables

Almost two decades after committing a crime that traumatized the country and over a decade after his release, Jon Venables sleeps in prison. For the uninitiated, Jon Venables rose to infamy after being convicted for the murder of a two year old boy, when Venables himself was just 10 years old.

Here’s The Chilling Story Of Jon Venables

Jon Venables didn’t go to prison upon his conviction

This is the first time in his life that he has experienced real prison life. From his conviction, when he was 11 years old, to his release, just after turning 18, he lived in an institution, closed certainly, but for minors, with an intensive rehabilitation program. But in 2010, Jon Venables broke the very strict conditions imposed in 2001 on his release. He was sent back behind bars. 

Jon Venables planned James Bulger’s murder with Robert Thompson

For two days, well-known images from surveillance cameras had been looping again on British television channels. In these black and white videos, with blurred definitions, we can see an ordinary alley in a shopping center, the Strand Shopping Center, in Bootle, near Liverpool. In the foreground, from behind, walks a young boy, Jon Venables, 10 years old. He is holding the hand of a little 2-year-old, James Bulger. In front of them walks another 10-year-old boy, Robert Thompson

A picture of James Bulger with his murderers

On February 12, 1993, the two boys decided to skip school. And “to lose a kid” Venables explained during the investigation. They take advantage of a moment of inattention on the part of the mother to train her son. And begin a march of more than three kilometers, punctuated by blows and violence on little James who, terrified, with his face bleeding, will pass 38 witnesses, without anyone intervening.

Jon Venables murdered James Bulger in a brutal manner

Arriving near a railway track, the 10 year olds beat the child with bricks and iron bars, then left the child’s tortured body on the track, before a train passed. It was other children who made the horrible discovery two days later. Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were arrested on February 18, 1993.

Jon Venables shocked the entire UK with his gruesome act

Faced with the horror of the crime and the emotion of public opinion, a judge took the unprecedented decision at the time to reveal the identity of the young murderers, and sentenced in 1993 to a minimum of eight years of imprisonment. Bottles were thrown at the vans transporting the children. Carried by the screams of a wild crowd, a man tried to break the window of the vehicle. The United Kingdom was in shock.

Jon Venables committed one of the most shocking crimes of 90s England

In the winter of 1993, the face of little Englishman James Bulger, then two and a half years old, was displayed throughout England, after the announcement of his kidnapping in a suburb of Liverpool. The body of the little boy was quickly found, lifeless. Surveillance videos of little James showed three silhouettes: the little victim accompanied by two other boys, aged 10: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. The two older ones unceremoniously drag the smaller one, before putting him through a real ordeal. 

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were also tried as adults

Beaten, stoned, humiliated, the executioners walked two and a half kilometers to the railway tracks near an old station, before attacking the child. The two very young suspects are placed in police custody and risk prison. On November 1, 1993, nine months after the charges, Thompson and Venables were tried as adults at Preston Crown Court. On the fourth day of the trial, the witnesses who saw the two boys and their little victim walking were heard. 

“It’s the trial of inference, of anonymity. It’s a collective trauma,” explains Christophe Gauthier, journalist and editor-in-chief of VSD, in L’Heure du crime. In total, 38 people attended the boy’s Stations of the Cross, unaware of the dire fate that awaited him. Trial which continues and where the two boys, despite their age, will be compared to the devil himself. “This is the first time that a Western society is confronted with this horror. We don’t know, we’ve never seen this. We’ve never seen 10-year-old kids kidnapping a two-year-old child to carry out experiments on him and kill him,” said Christophe Gauthier. 

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson hatched a diabolical murder plan

Nine months after the events, the two accused were before the criminal court at Preston court. The criminal scenario germinated in the heads of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables was taking shape. If Thompson appeared to be the leader of this sordid expedition, it was Venables who proposed throwing James Bulger on the railway tracks. The prosecutor indicated that this murder, full of cunning and wickedness, was of unprecedented barbarity. Both Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were convicted and sentenced for the death of James Bulger on November 24, 1993.

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were released from prison in 2001

In 2001, the two boys, who had not seen each other since their trial, were released. A judge believes their lives could be put in danger by the public or members of the Bulger family if they retained their identities. A new civil status was provided to them. 

They did not have the right to contact each other, to leave the country, or to return to the region where they committed their crime. The only known photos of them dated from 1993. And, despite the efforts of the tabloid press, muzzled for once by the courts, their anonymity was preserved. The most diverse rumors are circulating about them. Robert Thompson is said to be homosexual and lives with a partner. Jon Venables was allegedly stabbed two years ago during a fight linked to a young woman.

Jon Venables apparently showed some remorse

At the time of their release, the government welcomed their “progress”. Jon Venables passed the equivalent of the baccalaureate and, according to psychiatrists, became aware of the horror of his crime. Of the two, he was the one who cried and tore his handkerchiefs throughout his trial. But he was also the one who had already been expelled from a school for trying to strangle a classmate. His lawyer at the time, Laurence Lee, said he was stunned by his arrest. He was, of the two murderers, “the less diabolical”. “I just wonder if he was called back to prison for a minor violation of his release conditions,” he wondered.

The reason being Jon Venables’s re-incarceration was initially kept under wraps

This is precisely the problem: both the courts and the government have refused to say why Jon Venables was sent back behind bars. “It is in the public interest that the reasons for this arrest are not revealed,” declared Jack Straw, Minister of Justice. Before being contradicted by his colleague at the Interior, Alan Johnson, who considered that the public had the right to know.

Jon Venables’ parents denounced him

Suddenly, the rumor started again. Popular newspapers claimed that Jon Venables became a heavy user of cocaine and ecstasy and was arrested after a violent fight with a work colleague. James Bulger’s father, Ralph, hoped he “didn’t kill another child.” Denise, Ralph’s mother, divorced since 1994, simply said on Twitter that Jon Venables “is where he belongs, behind bars.” His former defender, Laurence Lee, believed above all that the authorities find themselves with “a hot potato in their hands”. “What are they going to do with it? he insisted. All the prisoners in Britain must be on the lookout for the 27-year-old new arrival and will make the connection, his new identity is toast.”

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