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The Laz Word...on Jon Venables

Larry Neild last saw him in the dock when he was reporting on the trial of the 10-year-old. Now, he says, James Bulger's killer may pay the ultimate price for blowing his own cover

Published on March 11th 2010.

The Laz Word...on Jon Venables

SHOULD Jon Venables be clapped in irons for ever, perhaps hung drawn and quartered, certainly left to rot in some dark, cockroach infested cell?

Deeds such as the one committed by Venables and Thompson are rare and that’s one of the reasons their names are etched into the consciousness of our society.

The last time I saw him, Venables was a youngster fidgeting with a hand-held computer game in the imposing wood-panelled court room at Preston Crown Court. All adult eyes were on him as he sat alongside co-accused Robert Thompson in a room crammed with bewigged lawyers and QCs, social workers, press, parents (of both the accused and their victim, James Bulger) and the public.

I covered the trial from start to finish, filing acres of copy that filled the columns of the Echo. So harrowing was the evidence I couldn't bear to go back and re-read my own reports once they had been published. I still haven't, even to this day.

At the end of each day’s proceedings, people waited, outside the court building, to scream their fury as the white escorted van, with its blacked-out windows, left.

Teenage mums, rocking prams containing their own offspring. howled “Hang them!” as the van crept out of the building. It later emerged that the two 10-year-olds weren't even in it. It was a decoy and they left once the angry crowd had dispersed.

A Dutch journalist explained how, in her country, children, at such a young age, would never have stood trial.

But the brutal slaying of young James was always going to have a lifelong impact on the Bulger family, the families of the two accused and the ordinary folk who gave evidence: the people who had spoken to the trio, unaware of what was happening, on the route they took from Bootle Strand to the railway line in Walton on that cold day in February 1993. That people are haunted by the memories goes without saying.

Fast forward to 2010 and Venables is back behind bars. He’s apparently been going to Goodison Park to watch Everton, he’s allegedly been a regular at city bars, he is said to have told his

friends who he really was, and he’s facing serious allegations.The media is hot on his tail. Both Venables and Thompson were given completely new identities as part of their so-called rehabilitation.

If the identities of either becomes common knowledge I have little doubt their lives will be in danger. Venables was stupid if he headed back to Liverpool and even more stupid if he has indeed been involved in serious wrongdoing as an adult. If the worst happens and he is the victim of a revenge attack he has himself to blame.

Despite their young age at the time of the crime, we live in a society that finds it hard to forgive or forget. It is not that long ago that public hangings took place from gallows erected near to where the current TJ Hughes store stands. It was the edge of town and the swinging, lifeless bodies were a grim warning to all about the price people pay for becoming outlaws.

We live in a society based on a Christian ethos, which preaches compassion, understanding and forgiveness, yet there is little sign of any at the moment.

The saying time heals, does not extend to the likes of Venables and Thompson. Papal forgiveness would not make their paths in life any easier.

Would it heal if either or both were found dead up some dark alleyway? I doubt it.

I have little doubt Venables will be “outed” – and as soon as that happens he will forever be a marked man.

Deeds such as the one committed by Venables and Thompson are rare and that’s one of the reasons their names are etched into the consciousness of our society.When the two were released from their incarcerations they should have vowed to keep their heads low and not step out of line once, ever. It was a big ask, but sadly that was their only hope.

Venables, by his own hand, had blown his cover. There was never going to be an easy way to handle this situation and he now may well pay the ultimate price.

Note from the editor: Readers, as usual we have left our rants box open. Please consider your comments carefully before posting as Liverpool Confidential wishes to stay within the law, especially regarding the worldwide injunction on publication leading to the identification of the individuals involved. Thanks.

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44 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

songbirdMarch 8th 2010.

Scousekraut, you are right to mention the Aberdeen paedophile ring.Check out:-www.ukcolumn.org/…/watch?v=8MKt4RlDktAIt's… the case of a down's syndrome girl named HOLLIE GREIG, who, along with other children, was serially abused for many years by a paedophile ring involving people in positions of authority in the Scottish establishment.This case is being hushed up (in a big way) by the Scottish Establishment, and threats have been made to silence the media (including the BBC). PLEASE check this out and spread the word - we need to demand justice, and prevent further children from being abused...xx

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

I worked in an office staffed by what I would consider to be level headed, ordinary, honest decent human beings. Yet during the chat over a coffee break I was staggered that most of them wanted to see the Bulger killers behind bars till they die. What if they are killed? No problem, they deserve it. It seems this case brings out the very worst in human beings. A society lacking in humanity is not a society at all. Mob rule is the common undercurrent. I for one am more afraid of that than I am of the very remote possibility of me or my family being harmed by Thompson or Venables.

Trending topicsMarch 8th 2010.

I agree, but the politicians are so enmeshed with the mainstream media's opinion of them these days that they will capitulate to any bit of pressure.

earnshawMarch 8th 2010.

boys of 10 years old do know what they are doing, if not theres something very wrong with them anyway , i am in the minority in wanting corporal and capital punishment brought back, we need a strong deterent in our society, softly softly touch just doesnt work, its been tried, i realise the two boys involved had poor upbringings but so do a lot of other people and they dont go out and torture and then murder a toddler, there are some people who are evil , i rest my case

RonMarch 8th 2010.

Earnshaw, I don't think that Thompson and Venables wouldn't even have known about the death penalty at that age or comprehended what it meant. So it wouldn't have prevented the murder. For me, capital punishment is the cowards way out for society. It's a way of us washing our hands of the problem without trying to tackle the root cause. Rehabilitation is more difficult and carries risks, but it is the right thing to do morally. Two wrongs do not make a right, despite the rather sickening feeling of satisfaction some people get from it. What Thompson and Venables did was appalling, but I would rather try and get them to give something back to society rather than having to pay to keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives when they were still at primary school when they committed the offence. I am also struck by the ignorance surrounding the criminal justice system. Do people not understand that we have a system where suspects are innocent until proven guilty? The irony is that many don't seem to realise the consequence of prejudicing a fair trial is the difference between custody and release. And Siobhan, you've got a really wild imagination, my love. You need to go and have a lie down in a dark room as you're spouting spurious nonsense that you've got no evidence of. Back to the railway track - what's that all about? And you blew your argument apart with your final line. The murder rate in the USA is far higher than in the UK, so the death penalty is no deterrent.

Ange LedelightMarch 8th 2010.

I would like to punch his prissy, pouty little gob!

Liverpool LouMarch 8th 2010.

It is interesting to note that hangings used to take place by what is not TJ Hughes. People used to come from miles around to see a "good" hanging.Whether justice was done at the time or not, it is of no business of the family of jamie Bulger to know what he has done this time. We seem to live in a society where the victims seem to feel they have the right to meet out the punishment.Hopefully we still live in a civilised society, and if you are wondering why the press are so interested - it is merely because they want to sell papers. Circulations are down, but inflaming headlines will always sell papers.

MikeMarch 8th 2010.

Thanks for giving us one of the more level-headed articles on the Venables issue, given that even now the BBC (e.g. that mealy mouthed Jeremy Vine) are joining in with some of the rabble-rousing.Reading the facts of the original case it is clear that the other defendant at least had been sexually (and psychologically) abused at an early age. so the sad fact is that the Bulger case probably involves 3 victims, not just 1.I'd like to think that incarcerating the killers and then giving them a chance to make good was at least society's way of apologising for not intervening earlier in their lives.By the way, does Albert the Detective get paid for commenting on the case all these years later? I remember thinking at the time that he was letting his evangelical christian beliefs - "the child is pure EVIL" - get in the way of his professional responsibilities and he should have been reprimanded.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

I remember the outrage at the time, and further when they were released. I suspect the *slight* hysteria around this has come from the fact that no one felt justice was served first time around, and now they have just been proven right by the fact that he's reoffended.It also makes a complete mockery of Sarah's law coming in. You can find out those on the sex offenders register, but he's protected by the state. Nice.

RonMarch 8th 2010.

Pop Tart, it made sense for the guy who is wrongly accused to come out like this at this time. If they gave him a new identity people would think their suspicions were right. I would guess the Home Office have been advising him because it not only rubbishes the speculation but also sends out a powerful message of the dangers of people speculating over the identity of Venables, and the consequences it can have.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.


AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

Thanks for balance, Livcon and keep up the work Laz

x-manMarch 8th 2010.

The case for the death penalty is completely flawed, Siobhan. Does it lead to fewer murders in America? Er, no. Quite the opposite, etc.

ali jMarch 8th 2010.

Society lacking in humanity? Perhaps - but if justice had been served in the first place people wouldn't feel the sense of outrage they do now.

Captain JackMarch 8th 2010.

I agree entirely with Scrittipolitti. Isn't it interesting that the largely intelligent debate on here is in the Bulger/Venables/Thompson's home city where you would expect the excesses of the opposite to get in the way?

Kraf TcheeseslicesMarch 8th 2010.

I simply cannot understand why the BBC employs this appalling man at all.

Media watcherMarch 8th 2010.

Rant removed

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

The media, as ever, is whipping everyone into a frenzy. Will it be a safer world if Venables is executed in an act of vigilante justice? We have systems and procedures to prevent mob rule in this country. Jack Straw should stand firm and act according to the law of the land, not the law of the media jungle.

SiobhanMarch 8th 2010.

I am fed up to the back teeth of people droning on about their childhoods. Do you not stop to think this was something exaggerated by their defence lawyers to get a more lenient sentence?! There was a LOT of money to be made from this case, blood money. From lawyers to managers of detention units, they all cashed in on a little boys gruesome murder.And, if it really is 'the parents' fault like a lot of do-gooders drone on about, why were they part of the rehabilitation process? Why did they see their mothers 3x a week in the 'detention centre'? Because there was no terrible relationship with them, it was all fabricated and exaggerated for the defence case.And if you can't blame the parents or video games that almost all kids watch, what is there to blame? That is what scares people, that there are people out there, capable of doing these acts without any other reason but for their own sick pleasure.No doubt they have both been back in Liverpool. This gives them free reign to go and revisit that abandoned train track were they committed the murder. That thought is very chilling to me.No one is saying to hang them in public, what is wrong with lethal injection for murderers and violent criminals? One wouldn't accuse America of being a medieval society and they still employ the death penalty in a lot of states.I personally believe they should have stood trial at 18. They were not fit to be let out, as this revelation has now proved.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

Venables and Thompson had the chance at a new life after detention, Jamie Bulger wasn't given that opportunity, what they did to him was sickening and my belief is that they should never have seen the light of day. Justice has to be seen to be done and this is another case where the state is hoping to abdicate responsibility to the mob, which they will then castigate while quietly crossing their names off the costs to protect file. We all know that the identity will come out, its just a matter of media time and money and then he'll be "off the books" permanently. They shouldn't have been released, but now that they are / were they need to be protected so that some innocent guy with a similar look, name, etc to that which comes out doesn't get what they deserve. Its about time that the family of the victim should decide when they can be released not a bleeding heart panel, had that happened here, I doubt this would even have been a discussion, because they'd still both be locked away.

Emma CMarch 8th 2010.

No winners in this situation ever. Society signed and sealed their fate when when they were 10 but not sure that they knew what they were doing. No love in their houses, no love in secure units growing up. Horrible and want to forget

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

I think many people would be shocked and alarmed if they were made aware of the monies being made out of the terrible tragedy of James Bulger.I for one would love to see a list of those who have benefitted financially over the years.Nothing is ever quite what it seems. Venables is a mere commodity in a trading war.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

siobhan, i agree with your rant!! earnshaw you are 100% right!!!Liverpool Lou - you wrote such rubbish, pick yourself another name , you dont deserve the name you rant under!

Mark Garner, the PublisherMarch 8th 2010.

Larry, great piece.

Grant WisemanMarch 8th 2010.

Some people have made a very comfortable living out of this sorry tale down the years.

scousekrautMarch 8th 2010.

One wonders why the mainstream media is making such a meal of this. Is there actually any evidence to support the allegations? How important is this in comparison to the many other much worse things that are going on in the world. Has the story in fact been deliberately put out as a diversion?In Aberdeen, Scotland a lot of noise is currently being made about yet another child sex ring that as per usual involves some very important people and the new phrase "padeophile swingers". Parents who swap their often very young children with each other for sex.This story is not even being reported in the MSM and is far more important than this.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

Even the judge who tried the original case is now saying what Larry Nield wrote, that Venables will be murdered by vigilantes. Will we all feel safe if he's bumped off, I do n't think so. What a sad reflection of a civilised society.

Marc TicrollMarch 8th 2010.

That Nigel Slater is awful.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

I think many people would be shocked and alarmed if they were made aware of the monies being made out of the terrible tragedy of James Bulger.I for one would love to see a list of those who have benefitted financially over the years.Nothing is ever quite what it seems. Venables is a mere commodity in a trading war.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

When these people were released from their incarceration, we gave them new identities (and were encouraged to think that it was what they deserved) They were released on licence, quite rightly with many necessary conditions.If Venables has broken his side of this 'bargain' then are we not right to tell him that he had his chance and blew it? Does he really deserve another new identity? And at what cost?We all have to make our choices in life, and we all have to face the consequences of those choices. Why should he be any different?I say he should be tried for whatever his new crime is, and pay the price.

scrittipolittiMarch 8th 2010.

Apart from earnshaw, siobhan and mr. anonymous (now there speaks a fearful man -- do you think my name is scrittipolitti, mate?) I think this blog looks more rational than most of the sensational press and that includes the bbc, Guardian etc. etc. Siobhan and earnshaw probably believe in the evil gene and their death penalty certainty reveals that they shouldn't be allowed near children! There should have been no "story" but day after day we see no facts but speculation -- by definition no story. Denise Bulger is constantly available to offer her unchanging (and unsurprising) view of the two children who killed her child . . . and why? She is the least able to make a rational judgement about this case. Many people are unwilling to confront the fact that humans are made not simply born -- and in that sense eliminating the representation of evil, doesn't mean you eliminate the causes. America is not a civilised country and the fact it allows the state killing of its citizens is certainly proof....has it affected the homicide rate in any of those states? No. Has it reduced the number of child killers? No. Is it still the highest murder rate in the Western world? yes. Has it go the highest prison population in the Western World? Yes -- 2.5 million. Would this prevent any more murders like Jamie Bulger? No.

paulyvousMarch 8th 2010.

I'm from Liverpool and always lived here but this kind of stuff is inflaming the utter ignorance of a lot of local people, hoping he gets killed in prison etc. He's served a lot of time already! Why can't people think rationally? Are they capable?

Pop TartMarch 8th 2010.

What about the guy who has been named and his address given out on a Facebook group and chain texts as being JV? The chap has openly admitted that he has been to prison, done his time and now lives with his wife and kids under a constant death threat. He has not been offered a new identity, police protection or money to move his family....... another innocent victim.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

According to the Observer, Venables has been going up to complete strangers and telling them who he is and what he did, and is now in the hospital ward. Just juggling two relationships is stressful enough and the secrecy takes its toll. People are not naturally meant to do be able to cope with this sort of thing so no wonder he has opened his mouth. Bit like the genie out of the bottle now. Terrible to see this all dragged out again.

Denise LysaghtMarch 8th 2010.

If Jon Venables has been working as a doorman, what a mockery this makes of the SIA licensing system coupled with enhanced CRB disclosure of all criminal offences, mandatory for everyone to be considered for employment in the security field

NickMarch 8th 2010.

Liverpool Lou, take no notice of the idiot above. The family does have no right to know about this. Siobhan is a reactionary idiot

Vi EnnettaMarch 8th 2010.

I was nearly sick with revulsion when he was sucking up to Sophie Dahl (who plainly wasn't eating anything at all) with his affected giggling.

anon2March 8th 2010.

I'm note sure of Scousekraut is being ironic or not, but there's a lot about the Aberdeen case on David Icke's website.I leave it to others to decide on the reliability of Mr Icke as an investigative journalist.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

Regarding Albert the Detective he travels the world lecturing on the case, strange all the media outlets seem to rely on him to give opinions. The plods on the ground in the case never get to be interviewed!

Broken BritainMarch 8th 2010.

Yes, I love living in a society where paediatricians get their houses trashed by thick obese, illiterate chavs.

London RoadMarch 8th 2010.

Straw has got to come clean on this now because he has to halt the media speculation. Every journalist in the land will know why he is being locked up by now and the speculation as it is is highly dangerous to a fair trial.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

Is anybody making any money out of this? Just wondered as it seems the media people seem to be getting people to spill the beans, and there's nowt like a few bob to get 'em talking.I agree with the view Venables is Dead Man Walking. You have to feel some pity.

Sir Howard WayMarch 8th 2010.

Blimey! Scrittipolitti talking sense for a change! Well said!

AnonymousMarch 8th 2010.

so we have democracy by mob rule?like the crowd that made life so bad for those taken in for questioning about this crime and later released.These innocent persons had to be given new identities and move from the community they grew up in that had wrongly turned against them.The government gave in to demands from a hostile and emotionally charged group of the public. I call that a mob.

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