Mother of murdered James Bulger can 'see some light' now that Jon Venables' parole denied

Denise Fergus spoke for the first time since her son's killer's parole request was denied Credit: Good Morning Britain

The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has said she can "see some light" now that her son's killer's parole has been denied.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain (GMB), Denise Fergus was "relieved" to hear Jon Venables would not be released from prison.

She said: “It’s a dark cloud to be under and those dark clouds very rarely go away. But now I can see some light”

The 41-year-old, who tortured and murdered two-year-old James in Liverpool in 1993, still poses a danger to children and could go on to offend again, the Parole Board concluded in a decision published on Wednesday 14 December.

He was previously released on licence twice, but returned to prison when indecent images of children were found on his computer.

James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus thanked the Parole Board for their decision Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Denise, who appeared on GMB alongside Chair of the James Bulger Memorial trust, Kym Morris, has fought for justice for James and to keep Venables behind bars for years. 

Denise said in her first TV interview since the ruling: “I’m feeling quite numb because I didn’t expect the outcome I got yesterday. It’s taken 30 years to get here.”

She added, “I finally now feel I have been listened to. All the promises I got told in the past two or three years have come to light. 

“I’m now glad that members of the parliament are now siding with me and understand where exactly I’m going with this and what I’ve said in the past has actually come true because I did say in the very beginning, if those two weren’t properly punished, either one or both of them will go on to reoffend and this is exactly what’s happened.”

Child killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson (right). Credit: PA

On her worry Venables could be released, Denise said, “I’ve had so many sleepless nights over this one again.

"I know for a fact if he was released, we would end up with another case like James’ and that is something I do not want any other family to go through.

"The news about him not getting released is just such a relief for me and my family and close friends. We still can’t really adjust to what we’ve been told because this is the first time I’ve got something my way.”

James’ father and uncle, Ralph and Jimmy Bulger, said they were “relieved” in the wake of the ruling, which came after a series of delays and followed a hearing held behind closed doors last month where Venables asked to be released.

James Bulger’s father Ralph Bulger said he was ‘relieved’ in the wake of the ruling Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

They said they were “grateful” to the Parole Board, although they said there had been a “failure” by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to ensure it had all the relevant material before it.

Reflecting on the last 30 years, Denise said it’s been an “emotional rollercoaster”.

“Going back to the early days I didn’t think I’d be sitting here 30 years on still fighting for justice for him. It’s been one hell of a bumpy road I’ve been on.

“I’m hoping now I’m going to get some peace of mind. I’m hoping that this is a bit of justice for James. I’m hoping this is going to continue because I do feel he should never see the light of day again.

“It’s such a horrible situation to be in. It’s a dark cloud to be under and those dark clouds very rarely go away. But now I can see some light at the end of the tunnel and I just hope this light starts getting brighter and brighter.”

Venables was jailed alongside Robert Thompson after the pair of 10-year-olds snatched James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993.

James Bulger was two-years-old when he was killed by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

Venables was released on licence in July 2001 and recalled to prison in February 2010 after indecent images of children were found on his computer.

He was once again freed in August 2013 and then called back in November 2017 for the same offence, with parole judges last considering his case in September 2020.

In his latest parole hearing, the panel was “concerned by continuing issues of sexual preoccupation in this case”, warning there were “future risks” of him viewing more child sexual abuse images and of him “progressing to offences where he might have contact with children”.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said: “James Bulger’s barbaric murder was a crime that shocked the nation and I welcome the Parole Board’s decision to keep his killer behind bars."

Venables will be eligible for another parole review in around two years’ time.

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