Jon Venables 'faces ''strictest ever'' release conditions'

EXCLUSIVE James Bulger’s murderer Jon Venables faces ‘strictest ever’ release conditions if he wins parole, including new name, spot lie detectors, a tag, ban on going near victim’s relatives, no internet on his own and requirement to live in a probation hostel


James Bulger’s murderer Jon Venables is likely to be subject to the strictest ever release conditions if he wins parole, including lie detector tests and tight restrictions on his movements and use of the Internet. 

The child murderer will be told if he has won parole within two weeks, meaning he could be out on the streets before Christmas. Today, experts said the conditions he could have to abide by may be some of the strictest ever enforced. 

A criminal lawyer told MailOnline the conditions would include ‘very heavy monitoring and restriction to his movements’. 

 This could involve curfew times, restrictions on international travel and access to the Internet and the requirement to live in a ‘pre-ordained place’.

Mike Neville, a former police officer and CEO of Neville Forensic Recognition, said the conditions would focus on preventing him from gaining access to child pornography.

Jon Venables (pictured) will be told if he has won parole in the ‘week commencing the 11th December’ and could still be free before Christmas

Venables, and Robert Thompson, now 41, were both aged 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old James Bulger (pictured) before leaving his mutilated body by a railway line in Liverpool 30 years ago

He told MailOnline: ‘They’ll be limits on his use of the Internet, particularly the dark web, and possession of laptops and mobile phones. He’ll also be stopped from going within a certain distance of a school.

‘They might well be the strictest conditions ever but they need to be enforced. There’s not enough police and probation officers to monitor all the sex offenders that have been released.

‘He’ll be put in a hostel in some council estate in Middlesbrough, Bolton or Stoke. And the working class people will have to put up with him rather than the middle class fools who released him.’

READ MORE – Jon Venables could be freed by Christmas: James Bulger’s murderer will learn if he has won parole in week beginning December 11 

Mr Neville warned that precautions like on the stop lie detector tests were likely to be ineffective because they could be faked.

‘People who are child abusers live a whole life of lies,’ he added.

The Ministry of Justice refused to respond to the claims, telling MailOnline they would not comment on individual cases. 

A spokesman for the Parole Board previously confirmed that the decision regarding Venables’ release will be ‘sometime during the week commencing the 11th December.’ It had been expected on November 28. 

Venables was released in 2001 on licence for life but had to be recalled to prison twice, in 2010 and 2017, having been found to be in possession of indecent images of children.

After his 2001 release he was given a new name – which may happen if he is freed again.  

Previous conditions placed on Venables included informing his parole officer if he ever got a job and getting their permission before leaving the UK. 

He had to regularly see a forensic psychologist and was banned from contacting Robert Thompson or any member of James Bulger’s family. 

He also had to ask his parole officer for permission to leave Merseyside, stay overnight in the same house as a child under 16 or spend time with anyone under 12. 

The toddler (pictured) was snatched from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, on February 12 1993

James’ mother Denise Fergus (pictured) previously said she endured ‘three decades of hell’ after Venables killed her son 

The licence conditions placed upon double child rapist and murderer Colin Pitchfork when he was released from prison in 2021 are instructive for Venables’ case. 

In prison Pitchfork began using a new name, David Thorpe, but he is now required to reveal his true identity to any new girlfriends or end up back behind bars.

The fiend strangled and raped 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. 

The killer must wear an electronic tag so he can be monitored at all times. He is banned from going near the relatives of his victims and faces restrictions on using the Internet by himself. 

READ MORE – Lord Blunkett leads calls to throw out Venables’ parole appeal 

He also faces unannounced lie detector tests to see whether he has broken any conditions.

Venables’ parole bid has already sparked controversy after it emerged that he skipped giving evidence during the two-day hearing to prevent ‘disproportionate emotional stress.’

James’s family have also been told of the new decision date and are fearful that the warped murder will be quietly released during the festive season.

A source said: ‘The family are extremely anxious having been told the decision will be made in the run-up to Christmas.

‘It is always a difficult and poignant time for them as it brings their shattering loss into focus when others are celebrating with their families.

‘They are braced for bad news and fear that Venables will be back on the streets and will celebrate Christmas as a free man.’

Venables, and Robert Thompson, now 41, were both aged 10 when they kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old James before leaving his mutilated body by a railway line in Liverpool 30 years ago.

MailOnline revealed in September that the child murderer’s case would be heard on November 14 and 15, but despite requests for it to be heard in public, the appeal was held behind closed doors.

The three person parole panel did not have the opportunity to cross examine Venables, but took evidence from a number of prison sources, including officers who have day-to-day contact with him, his probation officer and psychiatrists.

The child killers were convicted of murder in November 1993 and detained indefinitely. The pair were released aged 18 in 2001 after just eight years, and were given new identities. Thompson (pictured) has not reoffended. But Venables was sent back to jail in 2010 and 2017 after being caught with child sex abuse images on his PC

The panel heard heartrending victim impact statements made by James’s mother Denise Fergus, 54 and father Ralph Bulger, 55, who both begged the Parole Board to reject Venables’ bid to be released on licence.

Denise Fergus implored Parole Board chiefs: ‘If you let him free, you could be ruining the lives of another family like ours.

‘When you look at Venables’ file just remember what he is capable of. He killed my son James, has reoffended time and time again and I have no doubt he would kill another child if he is released.’

The decision is doubly significant as it is likely to be the last Venables can appeal before new parole reforms proposed by former Justice Secretary Dominic Raab come before Parliament.

READ MORE – James Bulger’s mother in desperate plea as her son’s killer Jon Venables makes bid for freedom 

Under his parole reform plans, a dangerous, reoffending prisoner like Venables would never go free.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill will make public safety the sole priority in considering the release of repeat offenders.

Before the decision to make the parole hearing private was announced, Ralph Bulger told The Sun: ‘If the Justice Secretary is serious on reform then he must allow me to be present at Venables’ parole hearing, just as I was at his Old Bailey hearing.

‘I want Venables to hear why I believe he should have his parole denied. For too long, victims and families have been ignored while authorities put the so-called rights of dangerous criminals first.’

The parole decision can be scrutinised by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, who under new powers has the right to ask the Parole Board to reconsider any decision to release Venables.

If released, Venables has life-long anonymity given to him by the courts, meaning the public will not know where the killer is relocated.

He would be under strict licence conditions, including severe restrictions on his movement and who he can contact. It is possible that Venables could also be made to wear an ankle tag.

James’ brother Michael Fergus, 29, said earlier this year that even after three decades he will never forgive the killers, adding that Venables must be kept behind bars. 

The licence conditions placed upon double child rapist and murderer Colin Pitchfork when he was released from prison in 2021 are instructive for Venables’ case 

Mr Fergus was born eight months after the tragedy, and though he never got to meet his brother, he has grown up with the impacts of those events.

He told the Sunday Express: ‘My brother’s killers will never be forgiven. They took away my older brother who I never got to meet.’

He added: ‘They robbed me of my childhood, in a nutshell.’

Michael still lives close to his mother Denise, and her husband Stuart, in north west England.

Denise and James’ father Ralph divorced in 1995 as grief took its toll.

James, from Kirkby, was a month away from his third birthday when he was snatched by Venables and Thompson, tortured and brutally murdered.

The child killers were convicted of murder in November 1993 and detained indefinitely.

The pair were released aged 18 in 2001 after just eight years. Thompson has not reoffended.

Venables was turned down for parole in 2020 after serving his minimum 40 months.

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