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James Bulger's mother speaks out about a new theory behind her two-year-old son's murder

jon venables
James Bulger murder case expert shares new theoryGetty Images

It’s almost 30 years since two-year-old James Bulger was abducted, tortured and murdered in Liverpool. His murderers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were both 10-years-old at the time they abducted Bulger from a shopping centre, which was captured on CCTV. They were convicted for his murder in November 1993.

Now, Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus has come forward to share new information on the case after feeling “strong enough to hear it.”

Over the years, many people suspected the motive behind the murder was sexually-orientated. However, expert Professor Paul Britton, a police forensic psychologist who was on the Bulger case in 1993, has revealed a new theory.

Britton recently shared details with Fergus, revealing to her that he thought Venables and Thompson's attack on James was in fact not sexually motivated. He highlighted that the two boys were “plain and simply” murderers, but Venables and Thompson had “no proper sexual involvement with James.” He said Bulger was ‘injured in all sorts of different ways and whilst he might have been injured in a way that would have included, if you like, all of his body, there wasn’t what you would call an adult sexual attack on him’.”

james bulger mother
Denise Fergus leaving court in 2010 after seeing Jon Venables, one of the two men convicted of killing her son, James Bulger, face three charges of downloading and distributing indecent images of childrenDan Kitwood - Getty Images

In an interview with The Mirror, ahead of the release of her updated autobiography I Let Him Go, Fergus said that upon hearing that her son’s death had not been sexually-motivated, she felt “something fundamental shift”. She added: “That has been such a block over the years. The excuse that they were ‘only children’ themselves who didn’t deserve the adult labels of ‘murderers’ has always been hard for me to bear.”

Alongside this new theory, more details on the case have been revealed by Fergus, claiming one of the killers, Venables, may never be released from prison again under the government's new parole plan. She claimed Justice Secretary Dominic Raab promised her that his Reform Bill would keep Venables behind bars, as he has reoffended twice. If Raab’s proposal of a “two strikes and you stay in” policy goes ahead, Venables will stay in jail for the rest of his life.

Venables, now 40, was arrested again in 2010 and 2017 after being caught with child sexual abuse images on his computer, and still remains behind bars. Speaking about Venables’ reoffending, Fergus said that she had “no doubt” that he was “now a sexual deviant and a massive danger to society” but that it was “a great peace of mind to know that James’s murder was not sexually driven”.

Thompson has not reoffended and is now living a new life under a new identity.

Speaking about Raab’s planned new law, Fergus said she felt hopeful for the first time in 30 years, adding that the legislation would bring “justice for James and for future potential victims.”

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