Jon Venables is getting paroled.

(140 Posts)
BOF Thu 04-Jul-13 18:11:47

Denise Fergus is understandably devastated. I was surprised not to notice a thread on this yet- what do people think?

fromparistoberlin Wed 24-Jul-13 11:19:43

i agree bottle

Its said that people with this nature become CEOs, leaders, motivators etc, I think!!

I also agree with Hula that these decisions are not taken lightly

that said, its a depressing topic and I cant really discuss without my heart thinking. a tale with no hope, and fuck all redemption

bottleofbeer Tue 23-Jul-13 20:00:09

Nurture can overcome nature though, it's well documented in cases of psychopaths. Reared properly they don't always pose any danger. In fact they tend to do quite well in life (probably due to their lack of empathy, they have no issues with stepping on toes). Barring mothers who drink excessively and/or take drugs causing organic brain damage; it's my opinion that a baby pretty much is a blank slate to be moulded and shaped. Not that I'm saying in any way at all that children with SN have all got drunk/druggie mothers. Not even close. But in adults with problems it can almost always be traced back to trauma in childhood.

If you think about well documented, diagnosed psychopaths (using psychopaths purely for example's sake) who committed terrible crimes there are always childhood issues. Not one of them off the top of my head had a well balanced, happy, normal childhood.

Lilka Tue 23-Jul-13 17:33:37

No baby is 'born evil' and skills like empathy or not innate (we are programmed to be able to learn it, but adults have to model and teach it in a safe secure home for it to be learned properly)...but babies are not blank slates either. Firstly because like it or not, genes do have a role to play in your innate self, yes it's open to debate how much, but they do indisputably have at least a little influence. Secondly and very importantly, development in utero (especially brain development) can be strongly influenced by the womb environment. For instance, a baby exposed to large amounts of alcohol in utero can get irreversible brain damage, some illegal drugs are linked to sensory issues, and ADHD in childhood etc. You can see babies with different behaviour patterns and fear when they have been exposed to constant yelling and high stress (ie. large amounts of stress hormone) in utero.

Anyway...I came on to say what others have said, that it won't have been a decision taken lightly. I hope that since he has been parolled he is able and willing to go on to live a trouble and crime free life but am not hopeful sad I agree that he is probably self destructing, and even if not, the damage done in childhood is the kind that you often need not only serious therapy to fix, but the insight and the willpower and willingness to change

Hulababy Tue 23-Jul-13 17:10:13

I have sat on boards determining parole, tagged release, open prison suitability, etc.
The decision is not made lightly. Several people from various agencies are considered. Judgements are made based on many things including their sentences, behaviour and attitude in prison, attendance and participation on rehab courses, criminal history, etc. It takes quite a while to make these decisions, it isn't just decided over a quick cup of coffee.

bottleofbeer Tue 23-Jul-13 17:09:57

There's no such thing as born evil, babies are a blank slate, it's those around them that help shape them (Jesus, I can't help myself with nature V nurture heh).

It's why it's so important to give our children solid foundations, imo.

bottleofbeer Tue 23-Jul-13 17:08:11

I don't think any of the officers involved could ever be impartial about any of it, they were too close to it and they're police officers not psychologists. JV sobbed and cried and asked them to tell James' mum that he was sorry. RT was hard faced about it all and wouldn't admit to anything unless he was caught in a lie and even then would only admit to the bare minimum. That's what's 'demonised' him in the eyes of officers involved. We'll never know who was the more dominant, maybe they were as actively involved as each other but I'm convinced the one who lost the plot and started the violence (that fuelled itself to its horrible outcome) was JV.

So, I'm not very surprised it's been him who reoffended. Since I also believe he was the more disturbed of the two I think a lot of the damage to his whole psyche was done long before the murder. Seemingly undoable damage. Damage done in the formative years 0-3 can be unfixable because it's when your personality is formed, apparently. But that's getting into the nature V nurture debate.

The book is a bit on the expensive side on Amazon but well worth a read smile

lottieandmia Tue 23-Jul-13 17:03:34

There is a disorder called 'Reactive Attachment Disorder' which some children who have been raised in abusive environments have and which Mary Bell was also thought to have had. Perhaps RT and JV also had this? There was a story of an adopted American girl who also had this disorder but her new parents have helped her to recover via therapy.

Of course, none of this excuses what they did or takes away from the pain caused to everyone involved sad But I have trouble believing that RT and JV were born evil.

dotnet Tue 23-Jul-13 16:02:39

I'd like to read The Sleep of Reason, bottleofbeer. I do remember either reading an interview or maybe seeing on television a senior police officer involved in the case expressing amazement that Robert Thompson was the one who seems to have turned his life around. That police officer saw JT as much more demonic than John Venables, definitely the leader of the two.
It seems that the regime meted out to the boys was more assiduous, more intense, than any other equally ill brought up/deprived child who had committed a lesser crime would have had. So Thompson and Venables had better care and more intensive rehabilitation than the usual. Success rate: 50 per cent, it seems (if Robert Thompson really has changed as it seems he has).
I don't know what we are supposed to make of all this. But I have heard that a VERY famous chain of rehab clinics working in mental health, drug addiction & alcoholism also achieves only a 50% success rate.
Some problems are just intractable I suppose. How sickening that John Venables didn't seize with both hands the chance to make good.

bottleofbeer Tue 23-Jul-13 13:01:12

There's a book called The Sleep of Reason about the case.

RT was for some reason always just assumed to be the dominant force in the murder. There actually isn't much to back that assumption up other than his upbringing was more obviously abusive. In a lot of ways JV's was just as abusive. The author (David James Smith) puts forward a good case for the more violent and disturbed one actually being JV.

In fact school reports paint him as the most disruptive and had the more concerning behaviour, months before the murder took place. He'd been recorded as holding a ruler against another child's throat very aggressively and it took two teachers to pull him off. He banged his head against walls. He hid under desks and refused to come out. He'd walk around classrooms with his arms out, ripping work off the walls. By comparison RT seems to have been quite normal; bit of a scally but if anything was considered a bit girly and feminine. No real violence recorded.

I think it was pure media invention because he'd had the more overtly abusive background, his family were known to the police, it was a one parent family and he had a skinhead. JV had been much more easily broken down in interviews than RT and RT had been quite defiant but it doesn't automatically follow the RT was the leader and JV the willing sheep participant.

lottieandmia Tue 23-Jul-13 11:28:20

Robert Thompson's rehabilitation was said to have been much more successful than that of Venables. Therefore I don't see why people are saying he should never have been released.

fromparistoberlin Tue 23-Jul-13 11:22:58

I genuinely dont know, we have to trust the authorities that if he is released they will exercise the vigilence required

It suspect they are damaged beyong repair, and were damaged when they committed the murder

I suspect they cannot be rehabilitated, and that frankly within months he will do something and be sent back to prison

I dont think its helpful for Denise and Ralph to have this all over the media. Their emotions are 100000000000000000% understandable, but are purely emotional and I feel so sad for them this is getting raked up again

I wish he (JV) would commit suicide to be honest, he will never have a normal life and its going to be endless shit raking

sorry, but I do

bottleofbeer Mon 22-Jul-13 22:57:44

The adult trial was to appease the public and was utterly ridiculous. They were assessed by psychiatrists who diagnosed them both with PTSD but by law they weren't allowed any therapy until after the verdict.

If two kids were ever crying out for immediate intervention...

middleclassdystopia Mon 22-Jul-13 22:50:07

I agree with Maryz, he is self destructing.

I don't think they stood a chance of rehabilitation given they were locked up and tried as adults essentially. Rarely is it considered that their parents were culpable. Wasn't one of them allowed to watch violent pornography from a young age?

Shame on anyone who thinks hanging children is civilised.

bottleofbeer Mon 22-Jul-13 17:13:10

Not going to happen though. Although tbf it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up banged up again, and again, and again.

Whatever he is, he needs locking up.
And he needs to stay there

bottleofbeer Mon 22-Jul-13 17:05:00

Luckily you're not a psychiatrist then eh?

Why do people throw the word psychopath about? do people know what it means, genuinely understand what it means?

middleclassdystopia Sat 13-Jul-13 13:48:02

He is a psychopath I am convinced. He cannot be rehabilitated, keep him locked up.

matchpoint Wed 10-Jul-13 16:46:32

First thoughts on reading this thread: I'm glad Venables and Thompson are under the purview of a professional team who are capable of separating their emotions from logic. I find it genuinely troubling to read adult women being so bloodthirsty towards children. What they did in February 1993 was horrifying but they were 10 years old.

I think a point being missed here is that Thompson has lived in the community, seemingly without incident for the past twelve years. I think this rebuts the 'we should have locked them up and thrown away the key' brigade quite nicely.

bottleofbeer Mon 08-Jul-13 17:41:40

There was pretty strong evidence Thompson had been sexually abused by older brothers. It's thought he probably in turn abused his younger brother.

His mother kept on having babies she wasn't prepared to care for properly to 'get a girl' but I think she had six or seven boys by the time it happened. I'd certainly hope he was just successfully rehabilitated rather than he's a genuine psychopath but either way he's obviously keeping his nose clean and head down.

'As If' by Blake Morrison is well worth a read if you're interested in this subject and the whole background. It's well balanced and not hysterical like the vast majority of anything else's you'll read on the subject.

PeterParkerSays Mon 08-Jul-13 10:46:15

I agree with Growlithe, looking at the background to this on the internet (sorry but I wasn't old enough to remember the boys' backgrounds when the murder happened) Thompson had the roughest deal as a child - violent, abusive alcholic parents, siblings who fought each other and bullied each other - another brother asked to be put into care when he was tarred and feathered by his older sibling (not Thompson). This was a really abnormal background and Thompson was reported at the time fo the trial to be a psychopath, with no seeming feelings or remorse, not crying at what he'd done etc.

He may now be reformed, but it may just be that he's not capable for feeling guilt or remorse for his crime so he toddles along on his way. There is a theory that Venebles keeps revealing his identity as a guilt / seeking punishment thing as a reaction to his crime.

That obviously doesn't cover the child abuse images image, but there is no evidence from the time that he was sexually abused, only that he was exposed to 18 certificate horror / pornography films by his dad.

bottleofbeer Fri 05-Jul-13 23:53:29

I think it's entirely possible he's institutionalised. He wants to be incarcerated. He also happens to be a paedophile.

My brother had been ill that day and my parents had to account for his whereabouts. My husband put himself right in the bloody frame, he'd bunked off school that day and had to be informally interviewed by the police at school (with his mum and dad present) he'd bunked off at a friend's house and rather than blow his friend up he said they'd been at The Strand hmm. Bloody wally.

ITCouldBeWorse Fri 05-Jul-13 23:40:22

Can I ask that people avoid using the term child porn. They are images of child abuse. I don't mean to be pedantic, but I think in these cases, it is important to be accurate.

I agree he seems to be actively seeking further punishment and needs to remain in a place of safety

Growlithe Fri 05-Jul-13 23:21:02

I know the area well. Someone I knew said at the time that the boys must have lived by the railway because when children are in trouble they head towards home. He was right.

The thing is, that wasn't the roughest area I knew at the time. Why were there two lads this way inclined together there at once? I think there was only one, but reading the papers at the time, that one was Thompson. Venables seemed to be easily led. Yet he was the one that ended up most screwed up. Or is he transparent, and Thompson very clever and able to play the game. And if that's the case, who actually is the most dangerous?

mercibucket Fri 05-Jul-13 23:15:48

yeah, cheers for that comment too gwendoline
nice to see the level of debate from the hang em flog em brigade

mercibucket Fri 05-Jul-13 23:12:17

yes, i do, pixel
i do not think 10 year olds should be put in a young offenders prison and they should be placed in a setting that closely replicated a home environment but where they can receive the psychiatric and psychological care that would give them the best chance to be rehabilitated, if that is the right term for this situatiin.

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