James Bulger’s schoolboy killers attended the same primary school in the impoverished district but their home lives were significantly different.
Robert ‘‘Bobby’’ Thompson was one of six brothers brought up by their alcoholic mother in a rundown house in Walton.
The boys’ father abandoned the family after spending several years in jail for serious offences.
Neighbours remember him as a dirty and scruffily-dressed boy who would gratefully seize any chance of a hot meal or packet of biscuits.
Lizzie McGuinness, who sat between the two killers at St Mary’s Primary School, said Bobby was regularly teased for his poor clothes.
She remembers both boys, who were persistent truants, as being disruptive but ‘‘no worse than a lot of the boys in class’’.
Thompson denied playing any role in James’ murder for several years but has since admitted his guilt.
Last year, the outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons, David Ramsbotham, said Thompson had considerable artistic talents and it has been reported that he enjoys designing clothes, including a wedding dress.
Venables, who had a sister and a brother, lived in a clean and relatively modern home on the sprawling Norris Green council estate.
His parents were separated but attempting a reconciliation at the time of the murder, and both were present at different times when he was interviewed by police.
It was Venables who confessed to the murder after a break in the interview, when his mother told him she would always love him despite his crime.