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James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables refused parole as toddler’s dad can ‘rest easy’

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James Bulger’s father tonight said he could “rest easy” as one of his son’s killers was refused parole.

Jon Venables, 38, and his friend Robert Thompson were 10 in 1993, when they killed James, two, after taking him from Bootle, Merseyside.

They served eight years before being freed on licence with lifelong anonymity, but Venables is now in jail for possessing child abuse images.

It is understood he has been told it will be two years before he can apply for parole again.

James’ father Ralph Bulger said: “This is the first time ever that the right decision has been made regarding my son’s killers.

“I am so relieved because I was convinced he was getting out – just as he has done before.”

Venables went to jail in 2010 for having child abuse images on his laptop.

He was released in 2013 with another new identity, but in 2017 was sent back to prison for the same offence.

The images included category A photos, the most serious type, and he also admitted having a “paedophile manual”.

Sentencing him to 40 months’ jail in 2018, Mr Justice Edis said: “The children depicted were often very young and vulnerable, there is discernible pain and distress suffered.”

Venables would normally be allowed out after 20 months, but he cannot be freed until the Parole Board recommends it as he has a life licence, meaning he is on parole until he dies.

Mr Bulger said: “He may not stay in jail for ever, but just knowing he is behind bars means children are safe from him for at least another two years.

“I have always said that Venables is a dangerous predatory paedophile and should never be freed from prison, but no one has listened until now.

“They let him out twice before and he has always re-offended.

“Now the parole officers have seen the light and agreed that he is not safe to be released.

“I can’t express how much of a relief that is – I’ve spent the last few months dreading the phone call to say he was back on the streets.

“It will never be safe to free him and I hope that they enforce his life licence and keep him locked away for ever now.”

James was abducted from a shopping centre before being tortured and killed.

Mr Bulger said: “I’ve always believed Venables will kill another child again if he is allowed back into the community.

“Perhaps the parole board have finally seen through his lies and deceit.

“He is an arch manipulator and knows how to play the authorities.

“But he has duped them once too often and now they have ruled against him.

“It’s the only just decision.

“To let him out could be another death sentence for an innocent child like James.

“Ever since James was murdered so horrifically, the courts have bent over backwards to look after both Venables and Thompson.

“Now the tide has turned and finally he is facing real prison time where he should have been from the beginning.”

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