Jon Venables anonymity was awarded on basis he would not re-offend, court hears

Jon Venables

Update 3.40pm: The father and uncle of murdered schoolboy James Bulger have begun a legal challenge against an order which allows killer Jon Venables to live under a cloak of anonymity.

The High Court application by the boy's father Ralph Bulger and uncle Jimmy Bulger is being aired in open court before the most senior family judge in England and Wales.

The two family members are represented by solicitor-advocate Robin Makin during today's proceedings.

James Munby, President of the High Court's Family Division, is dealing with preliminary issues in the application to vary or discharge an injunction originally granted by the High Court in 2001.

Mr Munby confirmed that James Bulger's mother Denise was not involved in the application.

Mr Makin said that he needed material relating to the proceedings dating back 18 or 19 years to prepare his case properly.

Mr Munby said he did not understand the relevance of that material to the application.

Mr Makin said it was because the injunction was granted on the basis that Venables was rehabilitated and would not re-offend.

The situation had changed as he had since been convicted on two separate occasions, most recently in February.

Earlier: James Bulger's family to challenge killer Jon Venables anonymity order

The family of murdered toddler James Bulger are due to challenge a court order which allows killer Jon Venables to live under a cloak of anonymity.

A hearing is scheduled for today at the High Court in London before the most senior family judge in England and Wales.

The case before the President of the Family Division, James Munby, is listed by a number followed by the name Bulger and the fact that it will be held in open court.

It is understood the proceedings involve an application by members of the family to vary or discharge an injunction which "prevents identification of the person previously known as Jon Venables".

Venables has been living anonymously since his release from a life sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of two-year-old James 25 years ago.

James was murdered by 10-year-olds Venables and Robert Thompson after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Merseyside in February 1993.

Both Venables and Thompson were later granted lifelong anonymity by a High Court judge.

Following release they have lived under new identities.

James Bulger's mother, Denise Fergus

But Venables has since been convicted and sent back to jail over indecent images of children.

In February, he was jailed for three years and four months after admitting surfing the dark web for extreme child abuse images and possessing a "sickening" paedophile manual.

He was charged after police found more than 1,000 indecent images on his computer.

It was the second time he had been caught with such images and when he was arrested he told police he was plagued by "stupid urges".

James's mother, Denise Fergus, and father, Ralph Bulger, attended the Old Bailey when Venables was sentenced in February.

Mrs Fergus said on Tuesday that she is not involved in the High Court proceedings before James Munby.

In a statement she said: "I understand the motivation for the application, but my concern is that if Venables were known by his own name, it could lead to vigilante action and innocent people being hurt. Beyond that, I have no further comment to make."

PA

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