Authorities Investigate Social Media Posts Which May Identify Jon Venables
The Attorney General is investigating a possible legal breach after the government caught wind of social media posts which claim to reveal the new identity of child killer Jon Venables.
Venables and Robert Thompson were only 10 when they tortured and killed two-year-old James Bulger in 1993, and were made subject to an anonymity order when they were released from prison in 2001.
Anyone identifying the killers can be prosecuted and jailed for the offence, and the main legal advisor to the government is now looking into the breach.
"We have received a complaint that the anonymity order has been breached and we are investigating," a spokesperson for the Attorney General's office said.
The anonymity order, which was imposed to give Venables and Thompson a chance at rehabilitation and protect them from vigilante attacks, has so far been rigorously enforced. Most child offenders under the age of 18 are guaranteed anonymity, but the brutality of this case made the decision controversial.
In 2013, two men who posted images they claimed to show the faces of the two killers were given nine-month prison sentences which were suspended for 15 months.
Breaking the injunction imposed by judges is seen as contempt of court and carries a punishment of up to two years in prison.
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Venables has been the subject of greater attention by the public as, while Thompson has not re-offended, Venables has been sent back to prison twice since serving eight years of his life sentence.
He was returned to prison in 2010 and again last month. In both cases it was for possessing indecent images of children in breach of his prison licence.
The mother of the killed James, Denise Fergus has angrily criticised the Ministry of Justice and the Probation Service for 'trying to keep quiet' that Venables, now 35, had been returned to prison, saying she was "absolutely fuming that once again I'm last to know".
In a statement, she said: "Venables has now proved beyond any doubt what a vile, perverted psychopath he has always been. But what hurts me most is the way the Probation Service has tried to cover this up."
James Bulger's mum, Denise Fergus. Credit: PA
When Venables was released, at the time, a psychiatrist ruled that he did not pose a threat to the public and was extremely unlikely to commit any further crimes. When he committed the murder, he was seen as more remorseful than Thompson.
However, on release Venables is reported to have developed drink and drug problems and is known to have compromised his new identity at least twice before being found in possession of indecent images in 2010.
The news of Venables' second recall to prison has led to new calls for him to be locked up for the rest of his life.
Featured Image Credit: PA / Police