Blunkett statement on Bulger case

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The Independent Online

Excerpts from statement by Home Secretary David Blunkett on the release of two boys convicted of killing James Bulger.

"The Parole Board has informed me today of their decision, subject to conditions, to direct the release on life license of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables who were convicted in November 1993 of the murder of James Bulger.

"At the time of the murder both were 10 years old and James Bulger was 2.

"I would wish to make it clear at the outset that this means that Thompson and Venables will be on licence for the rest of their lives. They will be subject to strict licence conditions and liable to immediate recall if there is any concern at any time about their risk.

"First, I offer my deepest sympathy to the family of James Bulger. The circumstances of the killing were horrific and had a profound impact throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.

"We will never forget it and I can well understand how distressing it is for James's family now to hear the news. We all understand that their grief for the loss of their son in such horrible circumstances continues and our thoughts are with them as much today as over the whole period....

"The murder of young James Bulger was a terrible event for his family and the whole nation. But no public interest would be served by pursuing the perpetrators now that the Parole Board has decided that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that they should be confined.

"The injunction was granted because there was a real and strong possibility that their lives would be at risk if their identities became known.

"Thompson and Venables are not free – as I have said they will remain on life license for the rest of their lives and are liable to be recalled to custody at any time if there is any evidence that they present a risk to the public.

"The life licences include conditions which prohibit Thompson and Venables, whether directly or indirectly, from contacting or attempting to contact the family of James Bulger or each other.

"They will also be prohibited from entering the Metropolitan County of Merseyside without the prior written consent of their supervising officers."