Bulger killer 'jailed over workplace brawl'

Jon Venables pictured in 1993

James Bulger killer Jon Venables was taken back into custody after a bust-up at work, it was reported today.

The 27 year old grappled with a colleague and had to be pulled away - eventually being suspended from his workplace after an official complaint was made and then recalled to prison, the Daily Mirror reported.

He is also alleged to have a history of drug abuse since being released in 2001 on licence after serving eight years for the infamous murder.

The revelations, which the Ministry of Justice refused to comment on, came as calls intensified for the Government to make public details about his recall to custody last week for breaching the terms of his release.

James’ mother Denise Fergus – who has not been told why the killer was back behind bars – told the Mirror: “We have a right to know,” a call echoed by the murdered toddler’s father.

Ralph Bulger, 43, told The Sun: “We are still in the dark about why he has been sent back – it’s a disgrace.

“It is one more kick in the teeth for James and his family.”

Venables and his friend Robert Thompson were just 10 when they abused and battered two-year-old James to death 17 years ago in Liverpool.

They were both released nine years ago with new identities and given strict rules about how they could behave on the outside.

Among Venables’ conditions are that he should not return to Merseyside or contact Thompson.

Yesterday Justice Secretary Jack Straw defended the decision not to reveal details of the breach, saying the secrecy was in the public interest.

“For very good reason we have had to keep restricted details as to why Mr Venables has been recalled,” he said.

“I was however very anxious that the victim’s family should know that he was being recalled before they found it out from the newspapers.

“There is always a careful balance that has to be maintained. I have no interest at all in withholding information gratuitously or unnecessarily.

“But there are good reasons to withhold this information and that is genuinely in the public interest.”

But Home Secretary Alan Johnson appeared to back calls for more information to be released yesterday, saying: “I believe the public do have a right to know and I believe they will know all the facts in due course.

“But I must in no way prejudice the future criminal justice proceedings.”

There are fears that Venables’ return to custody could lead to his new identity being discovered.

Venables and Thompson snatched James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside and killed him on a railway line on February 13, 1993.

They were given life sentences for the killing but were controversially released after eight years.

Venables will appear before a Parole Board hearing within 28 days to examine why he was taken back to jail.

A spokesman for the Parole Board said it was likely the result of the hearing would be released because of the high-profile nature of the case.

But the reasons for the recall were unlikely to be made public at this stage, he said.

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