The risks to his anonymity are greater than ever

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The Independent Online

Although Jon Venables was sentenced to two years in prison for child pornography offences, it is probable he will spend much longer behind bars.

Under normal circumstances he could have been released automatically at the halfway point in his sentence, but given that he is on a life licence for the murder of James Bulger, this will not happen.

He will, however, still be eligible for parole after a year, which means he will have his case heard next summer. But he will need to convince the panel that he is rehabilitated enough to be let out.

His time in prison is likely to be more difficult than would usually be the case for a convicted paedophile. He will be categorised as a vulnerable prisoner and be subject to strict supervision. If inmates discover his identity, his life will be at risk.

It is a problem already envisaged by Laurence Lee, Venables' solicitor at the original trial. He said it was now inevitable that Venables' new identity will leak out. "The date of the hearing should not have been publicised. Somebody in prison will have seen a lad of 27 who has been cagey about his past walk into a video suite yesterday and walk out with two years. It wouldn't take a genius to work it out."

This could also set back his rehabilitation. As his barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC told the Old Bailey yesterday, it is unlikely that he will be able to partake in group behavioural or therapy work for fear that the specifics of his crime would tip off fellow inmates to his real identity.

When he is released from prison, Venables will again receive a probation officer and a new name. The court heard yesterday that the saga of Venables's recall to prison started because he believed someone had found out who he really was.

Despite the fact that his previous identity is not allowed to be published, every one of the 62 people in Court 14 yesterday now knows the name Jon Venables was using before his arrest. As of yesterday evening it was already being bandied about on the internet.

It is unlikely he will be able to move back to Cheshire. The friends he made in the region are likely to know now who he is. He will be on the sex offenders' register for 10 years and is barred from working with children for life.

He is also subject to a sexual offences prevention order for five years. This bans Venables from owning or using a computer that does not have specialist software installed, blocking images of child abuse. It also prevents him from using peer-to-peer software of the kind he employed to commit the offences he was convicted of yesterday, or using internet chat or social networking sites.

A statement released via his solicitor said: "He is determined now to become the person he wishes to be so that when he is released from prison, he will never go back."