James Bulger killer Jon Venables pushes to win freedom within weeks – before new laws come in which could allow ministers to block UK’s worst criminals getting parole
- Jon Venables hoping to get a full parole hearing as early as September this year
- It could mean he is released before new laws blocking parole for worst criminals
- James Bulger’s father Ralph has called for Venables’ parole bid to be denied
Jon Venables is hoping to be released on parole ahead of the introduction of new laws that could block his freedom.
Venables, who killed two-year-old James Bulger in Merseyside in 1993, was reported to be pushing for parole in February and could have a full hearing as early as September.
However, James’ father has now asked to present at the parole hearing and explain why Venables release should be blocked.
Ralph Bulger, 55, also called on Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to let him speak if he is ‘serious’ about his new crime reforms.
Mr Raab’s new laws would allow ministers to block the release of the most dangerous criminals for public safety reasons.
However, the bill could take until next year to become law with Venables’ parole bid already underway.
Jon Venables was reported to be pushing for parole in February and could have a full hearing as early as September
Dominic Raab’s new laws would allow ministers to block the release of the most dangerous criminals for public safety reasons
Officials last week contacted James’s family to ask them to submit new victim impact statements.
These statements could be completed within weeks, paving the way for Venables’ hearing.
Ralph Bulger told the Sun: ‘If the Justice Secretary is serious on reform then he must allow me to be present at Venables’s parole hearing, just as I was at his Old Bailey hearing.
‘I want Venables to hear why I believe he should have his parole denied. For too long, victims and families have been ignored while authorities put the so-called rights of dangerous criminals first.’
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson tortured and killed James, two, when they were just 10
Venables and Robert Thompson tortured and killed James, two, when they were just 10.
Both were released in 2001 with new identities before Venables was jailed in 2017 for possessing child abuse images. He was denied parole two years ago.
In Venables’ last failed bid for freedom in 2020, the Board said he still showed an attraction to sexual violence as the reason for keeping him locked up.
A Whitehall source said: ‘The Justice Secretary is determined to reform the Parole Board to ensure public safety remains paramount.
Ministers will get new powers to veto the release of Britain’s most heinous criminals, under the new plans to reform the parole system.
Murderers, rapists, terrorists and violent criminals convicted of causing a child’s death will be forced to stay in jail until their release is signed off by ministers.
The plans will grant Justice Secretary Dominic Raab the final say on the release of about 660 offenders a year. Victims will get rights to attend Parole Board hearings in full and ask questions. They will also be entitled to receive more detailed information from the board’s officials.