Bulger Ruling: The Long Road To Justice For The Child Killers Of A Little Boy Lost

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The Independent Online

12 February 1993: Two-year-old James Bulger is snatched (left) during a shopping trip to the Strand shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, with his mother and a family friend, Nicola Bailey 13 February: The youngster's parents, Denise and Ralph, appeal for the safe return of their son, then detectives released telltale security video stills 14 February: James's battered body is found by children on a freight railway line 200 yards from Walton Lane police station, Liverpool, and more than two miles from the Strand shopping centre 18 February: Two 10-year-old boys are arrested in connection with the murder of James 22 February: There are violent scenes outside South Sefton magistrates' court in Bootle when the two boys make their first appearance charged with James's murder 1 March 1993: James Bulger is buried 24 November 1993: Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, now 11, are convicted of James Bulger's murder following a 17-day trial at Preston Crown Court. They are ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pl

12 February 1993: Two-year-old James Bulger is snatched (left) during a shopping trip to the Strand shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, with his mother and a family friend, Nicola Bailey 13 February: The youngster's parents, Denise and Ralph, appeal for the safe return of their son, then detectives released telltale security video stills 14 February: James's battered body is found by children on a freight railway line 200 yards from Walton Lane police station, Liverpool, and more than two miles from the Strand shopping centre 18 February: Two 10-year-old boys are arrested in connection with the murder of James 22 February: There are violent scenes outside South Sefton magistrates' court in Bootle when the two boys make their first appearance charged with James's murder 1 March 1993: James Bulger is buried 24 November 1993: Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, now 11, are convicted of James Bulger's murder following a 17-day trial at Preston Crown Court. They are ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure 4 November 1994: News of the Bulgers' troubled marriage hits the headlines. They finally part some 17 months later. Both later settle with new partners June 1994: the Home Secretary considers a petition from James's family, signed by 278,300 people supporting their view that the boys should never be released July 1994: Michael Howard, Home secretary at the time, decree a 15- year tariff after Lord Chief Justice Lord Taylor of Gosforth increase to 10 the 8-year term set by the trial judge 12 June 1997: The Law Lords rule by a majority that Mr Howard has acted illegally in raising the boys' tariff 15 March 1999: The European Commission of Human Rights finds Thompson and Venables were denied a fair trial and fair sentencing by an impartial and independent tribunal 16 December The European Court of Human Rights (right) rules Thompson and Venables did not receive a fair trial.