James Bulger's mother appeals to Lord Chief Justice

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The mother of James Bulger has written to the Lord Chief Justice begging him to consider her dead son when ruling how long his two killers spend behind bars, it emerged today.

Denise Fergus said in her letter she was "worried" Lord Bingham would give more thought to Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both now aged 17, than to James.

Last Monday, Home Secretary Jack Straw passed responsibility for deciding how long the two boys convicted of killing the two-year-old should remain in jail to Lord Bingham.

Mrs Fergus, in her letter published in today's Sunday Mirror, said: "I know you are a wise man and a very learned judge and I want to believe that I can place my faith and trust in you to do what is right.

"But I am worried you will be giving more consideration to Thompson and Venables than you do to James."

The letter continued: "Please remember they tricked him into believing they were nice and led him away by the hand.

"They will never change no matter how well they are treated, educated and taught to show remorse and pretend they are sorry."

The decision to pass the responsibility to Lord Bingham came after a European Court ruling that it should not be up to politicians to decide how long youngsters spent in detention.

Mr Straw had been expected to announce he was reducing the 15-year tariff set by his predecessor Michael Howard to the 10 years set by the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Taylor immediately after the case.

Mrs Fergus also told the Sunday Mirror she was very upset at the timing of the decision - the week of what would have been James's 10th birthday.

She told the newspaper: "It ruined what should have been a special week for our family in which we had time to remember James."

Thompson and Venables, aged 10 at the time of the crime, were the youngest children in the last century to stand trial for murder.

They were convicted at Preston Crown Court of abducting the toddler from the side of his mother in the New Strand shopping centre, Bootle, Merseyside in 1993.

His body was discovered two days after he vanished, abandoned on an isolated railway line. It had been splattered with blue paint and his battered head was surrounded by a pile of bricks.