Brown defends silence over jailing of Venables

Newspapers claim Bulger killer is a violent drug addict – but PM remains tight-lipped

The Prime Minister has defended the Government's refusal to explain why one of the murderers of James Bulger has been returned to prison, as new claims emerged that the killer had a recent history of violence and drug abuse.

Gordon Brown told reporters yesterday that although the murder of James Bulger was an "abhorrent" crime, it did not justify making public the reason why Jon Venables, 27, has been recalled to custody.

He said he understood how the case "disgusts and offends the British people", but added: "What matters here is that the justice system is allowed to run its course and that justice is done, whatever wrongs are committed. The justice system must be allowed to take the action that is necessary. That is what people would expect and that is what is going to happen."

Reports have suggested that Venables was returned to custody more than a week ago after fighting with a work colleague and developing a drug addiction to ecstasy and cocaine since his release in 2001.

In the latest claims, the Daily Mirror alleged that the work colleague grappled with Venables before others intervened and pulled them apart. His alleged victim is said to have made an official complaint about the attack, which led to Venables being suspended from his job. This, the paper claimed, was what had triggered his recall.

It was also claimed that Venables has been hospitalised twice since being freed in 2001 after violent altercations. One report said he was stabbed more than two years ago, during a row after a man tried to chat up his girlfriend.

And it was alleged that in December 2008 he was arrested by police after being seen taking cocaine in an alleyway with another man. It was claimed he escaped with a caution.

The Ministry of Justice refused to confirm the claims. A spokesman would only say that Venables was back in prison after breaching the terms of his conditions of his licence.

By refusing to say how Venables had broken his parole, ministers provoked a bitter row with the family of the murdered two-year-old boy. The toddler's estranged parents, Denise Fergus and Ralph Bulger, were incensed and accused Justice Secretary Jack Straw of violating their rights as victims.

Mr Bulger, 43, insisted he had a right to know how Jon Venables broke the terms of his life licence. He asked: "What has the Government got to hide?" He said he found out about Venables' recall just hours before the story broke on Tuesday evening, despite Venables having been returned a week earlier.

Yesterday the Conservatives put pressure on the Government by requesting that more details about the case were disclosed. Ms Fergus, who is also fighting to find out why Jon Venables was recalled to custody, posted an internet message thanking members of the public for their support.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesBryony Beynon: This is something every woman can relate to
Arts and Entertainment
film

News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Life and Style
fashion

World Beard and Moustache Championships held last week

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Copycat culture: the Chateau Zhang Laffitte in China, top, and the building which inspired it, in Paris, bottom
architectureReplicas of Western landmarks are springing up in unlikely places
Sport
Rolando Aarons watches as his effort finds the corner of the Manchester City goal to give Newcastle the lead
footballManchester City 0 Newcastle 2: Holders crash out on home turf
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Geography Teacher - ...

Secondary Humanities, Business and Economics, Jan 15, Malaysia

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Humanities, Business...

Key stage 1 supply bank

£80 - £110 per day + CPD: Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 1 & 2 supp...

Secondary Chemistry Teacher, January 2015, Malaysia

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Chemistry TeacherReq...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain