James Bulger killer Jon Venables 'terrified' he'll die in jail due to law change


James Bulger's killer Jon Venables is reportedly "terrified" that he will spend the rest of his life in prison and die behind bars because of a law change.

Venables, now 40, was just ten years old when he abducted two-year-old James Bulger from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, and carried out a killing that shocked the world in 1993.  After being convicted of murder alongside Robert Thompson, he was first released from a young offenders institution in 2001, aged 18, with a new identity.

However, Venables was recalled to jail for possessing child sex abuse images on licence in both 2010 and 2017.  And now, legislation expected to be approved early next year would give the Secretary of State the final say on whether he ever is released.

Venables is said to be “terrified”, because his Parole Board hearing keeps being delayed, say reports. Until the Victims and Prisoners Bill is passed and becomes law, Venables's hearing would be conducted under existing, which takes into account the rights of inmates.  

However, if his hearing is delayed until after the new legislation becomes law, Venables could be refused parole - because the Bill makes public safety the sole priority when considering releasing repeat offenders. And it's believed this would mean Venables would stay locked up, for the rest of his life.

James’ mother Denise Fergus, 55, wants Venables to stay in prison. She has met with met Justice Secretary Alex Chalk to voice her opposition to her son's killer's possible release. 

A source told The Sun that James Bulger's family are "thrilled by Venables’ fading freedom hopes". The source said: "They know his planned parole hearing has been put back.

“If it’s shunted back again, the Victims and Prisoners Bill could go through parliament meaning it would affect him.

"Even if his next hearing happens before it's passed, it would be surprising if he’s let out as his previous releases have been deeply unsuccessful.

“He was denied parole in 2020 and he is probably worried that he will never be able to taste freedom again.”

The Sun says The Ministry of Justice did not comment on the situation.

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