James Bulger killer Jon Venables to face two-day parole hearing

ITV Granada's Rob Smith explains how Venables' parole hearing will work

Child killer Jon Venables will face a two-day parole hearing, which could potentially see him released from prison before the end of the year, the Parole Board has confirmed.

The hearing is scheduled for 14 and 15 November, and a decision on whether prisoners can be released is usually made within 14 days.

Venables and Robert Thompson, who were then just 10-years-old, tortured and killed two-year-old James Bulger after snatching him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993.

James Bulger was taken in 1993.

The two boys were jailed for life but released on licence with new identities in 2001.

Venables was sent back to prison in 2010 and 2017 for possessing indecent images of children, and was given a 40-month sentence.

In 2020, the Parole Board was asked to review his case when he became eligible, but the panel decided he should not be released.

A Parole Board spokesman said: "An oral hearing has been listed for the parole review of Jon Venables and is scheduled to take place in November 2023.

"Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

"A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

"Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead-up to an oral hearing.

"Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison, as well as victim personal statements, are then given at the hearing.

"The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing, which often lasts a full day or more.

"Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority."

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