The Bulger Murder: Mother cannot believe that 'devious' child killed: Ann Thompson tells the Press Association how she intends, step by step, to get to the truth

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ANN THOMPSON, the mother of Robert Thompson, child A, says her son is a thief, a liar, is devious and plays truant. But he is not a murderer.

Mrs Thompson said: 'They are all saying he told lies from beginning to end. Yes, he did tell some lies, but he also told the truth about one thing from beginning to end - he did not kill that baby. I honestly do believe him.'

Mrs Thompson said she could not make sense of James Bulger's death, and had not even started asking Robert about it.

As for the Bulgers: 'I couldn't even begin to say I'm sorry for what's happened.'

Asked why her son stayed silent about events on the railway track where James was killed, she said: 'Well, if you had just seen somebody slit somebody's head in, what kind of state would you be in? I know what kind of state I was in when I saw the pictures of the baby cut in two with all the gashes. That was only looking at a picture. What would it be like in real life?'

Mrs Thompson said she had not even started asking her son how he felt, but she added: 'I will take it step by step and we'll get to the truth.'

Asked whether Robert had shown any remorse, she said: 'If you haven't done nothing . . . he's like me in a way. I'll bring it out of him day by day what happened.'

Asked how it would end for her son, she said simply: 'In a coffin.'

Mrs Thompson said she did not really know if Robert understood what had happened, but he did not really understand events in court.

'In the beginning, I had to explain to him what a solicitor was, what they were for,' she said.

She went on: 'They always blame the parents. It's a very difficult situation, when you are getting no support as a family, you're alone and you face the world alone, the same as I'm doing now.'

Mrs Thompson claimed she was now being victimised. 'We look over our shoulders. We don't go out. I have got one son left . . . he can't go to school. He has never been since this happened. I won't let him go. I am not sending my kids to school for another one to end up in prison. The teachers can't do their job properly. You send a tutor to me and I know where my kids are.'

Asked about any motive which could have caused the killing, such as glue-sniffing or a sexual background, Mrs Thompson said: 'I was waiting for that to come out. I have asked for a doctor to get my son examined, because I know I have not sexually abused him in any way.'

The school also 'had a down' on her son, Mrs Thompson said. She said she was not told about Robert playing truant and added: 'I have called for a meeting with the director of social services. I am not going to sit back. I want all this sorted out.

'I want help. I haven't had any help for five years. If they don't give me help, I'll show my face on TV and cry for help. They don't understand how I feel.

'My cry is: why didn't the headmistress get on the phone and phone social services or the police, or my friend. She failed to do her job properly.'

Her son started playing truant in September last year, she said. 'I have no idea why he started then, but that was when Jon Venables came on to the scene.' She said she thought Robert played truant because he did not like the headmistress. 'There was victimisation, I'd call it. All my children have gone to that school and she has never liked any of them. They have all been mischievous.'

Once, Robert was offered a present if he attended school for a week without playing truant, she said. 'He went in all week. On the Thursday night he came home and his younger brother told him Jon had spoken to him and said: 'Tell Robert I'll be waiting for him by the subway'. So when Robert went to school, Jon was waiting by the subway. They decided they were staying off.

'Robert was getting his present that day but Jon told him that teachers tell lies. Is there something in that? Didn't he want Robert to get his present?'

Mrs Thompson claimed the tragedy could have been prevented if the police had done something about it. Asked what she thought the police should have done, she replied: 'Thrown him in a cell for the night.'

Asked why her son took James Bulger, Mrs Thompson replied: 'I don't know why he was with that baby from the beginning. I want to find out.

'What I really think is: he's frightened of Jon Venables. And he won't admit it, because he actually said downstairs (in court) the other day: 'I feel like crying when I'm upstairs'. I said: 'Well why don't you?' He said: 'Because all those people are looking and they would call me a baby . . . look at him crying'.

'The attitude when you live around Walton is you have to be tough, or else you don't survive.'