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James Bulger killer back in jail after being caught with abuse images again

November 29, 2017 ·  By Nadia Khomami for www.theguardian.com

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Jon Venables, 35, returned to prison after he was caught with indecent material a second time during routine check

 Jon Venables was 10 when he was jailed in 1993 alongside his friend Robert Thompson for the murder of two-year-old James Bulger. Photograph: Getty Images

Jon Venables was 10 when he was jailed in 1993 alongside his friend Robert Thompson for the murder of two-year-old James Bulger. Photograph: Getty Images

Jon Venables, one of two boys convicted of the murder of toddler James Bulger, has been returned to prison again after he was caught with child abuse images for a second time.

Venables was 10 when he was jailed in 1993 alongside his friend Robert Thompson for murdering two-year-old James. He was released on licence in 2001 but returned to jail in 2010 for possessing indecent images of children.

The 35-year-old was once again arrested last week after officials found indecent material on a computer during a routine check at his home.

James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus confirmed the news on social media and said that she was unhappy that she had not been informed sooner, writing: “I’m absolutely fuming that once again I’m last to know, that this has happened a week ago and I only got informed just hours before it’s hit the press. #JusticeForJames.”

Venables is subject to life-long licence conditions for his role in James’s murder. A source close to the investigation told the Sun: “It’s all about protecting the public.

“We have these systems so those who could be a risk to the public are picked up. That’s what happened here.”

As reports of the arrest emerged on Wednesday night, Ms Fergus tweeted: “Here we go again.”

Bulger was beaten to death by the two boys after being led away from his mother while at a shopping centre. The killing provoked national horror and anger.

Upon sentencing in 1993, Venables and Thompson were ordered to be detained without limit. The judge said the boys were guilty of an act of “unparalleled evil and barbarity” and suggested “violent video films” might have been partly to blame for the crime.

After serving eight-year sentences, Venables and Thompson were released with new identities in 2001. Following a threat by James’s father, Ralph, to hunt down his son’s killers, both won a high court order protecting their anonymity for life.

Venables went on to offend again, including arrests for affray and possession of cocaine in 2008. In 2010, he was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to downloading images of child abuse.

Venables, who was reportedly given a second new identity after his first alias was revealed, was granted parole in 2013.

In response to his latest reported offending, a Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on individuals.”

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