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James Bulger's father opens up about his son's death for the first time

When two year-old James Bulger was murdered in 1993, the nation united in grief and shock.

So great was the reaction to his death, that the police had to appeal to the public to stay calm during the trial.

Two 11 year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, were convicted, having inflicted 42 horrific injuries on James Bulger.

As the offenders were juveniles, they were ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, the substitute sentence for life imprisonment.

Home Secretary Michael Howard was later handed a petition from James's family, signed by 278,300 people who believe the schoolboy killers should never be released.

In 2001, the two were granted anonymity for the rest of their lives, and freed from prison.

James Bulger's father Ralph has opened up about his version of events for the first time. He describes his torment as their child was reported missing, and how in shock and grief he had blamed his wife Denise, but was deeply ashamed.

In a heart-wrenching description of his feelings throughout his son's disappearance, and the news of his murder, he speaks of how they avoided watching the news or reading the papers until the tragic truth was revealed.

His book, My James by Ralph Bulger and Rosie Dunn, is published by Sidgwick & Jackson.

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