Venables' new identity to stay secret

The new identity of killer Jon Venables will remain secret after his conviction for child pornography offences, a judge ruled today.

The new identity of killer Jon Venables will remain secret after his conviction for child pornography offences, a judge ruled today.

Mr Justice Bean at the Old Bailey decided the fact that Venables was living in Cheshire, England at the time of the offences could be reported.

The judge made the ruling after legal discussions involving barristers for Venables, one of two boys who killed toddler James Bulger in 1993.

Until now an injunction has prevented any reporting of his new name, whereabouts, appearance, and even accent.

Following Venables’ sentence today for child pornography offences, some media organisations had applied to be able to report his new name, but lawyers for the killer and the Attorney General voiced concerns about the move.

It was claimed that this would put him at further risk from attack in prison and could mean he would have to adopt another new identity on his eventual release.

Details of a police document about the potential impact of naming him assessed it as three on a scale of one to three, the court heard.

It said this would be reduced if he were to be given a new identity.

But it added: “It must be considered that there could be the potential that someone could find Venables with the intention of killing him.”

The judge agreed to grant an application by Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Venables, to “maintain permanently” the ban on naming his client.

The earlier sentencing hearing had taken place under circumstances of unprecedented secrecy.

Venables appeared via videolink but was only seen by the judge in the case.

Anthony Hudson QC, who was in court representing the national media, said: “This is the first time ever that such a course has been adopted in relation to an adult criminal defendant.”

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