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?

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 04-Jul-13 18:14:01

Cross thread!

It's disgusting that poor woman deserves some peace. I'm in a state of shock they would release him he's obviously still a danger to children.

BOF Thu 04-Jul-13 18:15:47

Yes, wasn't he found to be looking at child porn?

I think it's theoretically possible to be rehabilitated, but I'm not convinced he is. I wonder what the Parole Board considered?

AuntieStella Thu 04-Jul-13 18:15:56

Here is the BBC story on the parole board ruling. It was new on the site only 13 minutes ago, so I don't think there has been anything surprising.

SlimePrincess Thu 04-Jul-13 18:20:04

It was category 5 child porn as well.

But what is the reason why the parole board want to release him?

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 04-Jul-13 18:28:04

itsjust that's what I don't understand! From the dm report he's been diagnosed as a pschycopath by some professionals so why isn't he in a pschyiatric hospital

SoupDragon Thu 04-Jul-13 18:32:21

I'm not sure you can trust the DMs reporting.

Those boys should have never been released and venables convictions since proove exactly why-still a danger to children!!
Why on earth the parole board think he is suitable for realise is beyond belief!

Poor denise fergus

SoupDragon Thu 04-Jul-13 18:46:46

Was the other one (Thompson?) released?

Not sure soup

AnyaKnowIt Thu 04-Jul-13 18:49:08

Yeah Thompson was released early 2000

edam Thu 04-Jul-13 18:50:52

sounds like a bad idea, given one of the reasons he was sent back into a secure hospital in the first place was that he couldn't cope and was revealing his identity. Quite apart from the child porn - not sure it is possible to guarantee that someone has lost their taste for that revolting stuff.

ClaraOswald Thu 04-Jul-13 18:51:26

Thompson seems to be holding to the terms of his parole.

Venables is a vile person whom I doubt can be rehabilitated. So we'll hear of his doings for the rest of his life.

Remotecontrolduck Thu 04-Jul-13 18:56:43

This is going to end well isn't it.

He had his chance, he proved that once again, he cannot be trusted and is a danger to children.

Incredibly stupid decision by the parole board.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 04-Jul-13 19:54:22

I'm amazed Theresa may hasn't stepped in and over ruled the decision

The parole board will not have deided this lightly. The 'easy' choice would have been to refuse this. SO I'm happy to trust their judgement and hope to hell they're right and no child suffers as a result of this. I sympathise very much with Denise Fergus but justice is not the preserve of the bereaved. It's the reposnsibility of the state, weighing the rights of both the victim and the guilty. Very, very hard choices are made sometimes.

Suzieismyname Thu 04-Jul-13 20:21:28

I agree with Northern lurker. Much as I absolutely despise what those boys did, they were boys.
Let the proper authorities decide his fate. I can't imagine them letting him slip through their fingers.

Very sad for all involved. I hope that this decision doesn't prove to be a mistake.

edam Thu 04-Jul-13 20:38:26

Northern, indeed, I realise the parole board will have looked at this very carefully - but presumably that's what they did last time.

Yes and possibly that's what they'll do next time too. That's as it should be. You cannot base parole decisions on the fear of what hideous thing could be done. If that's allowed to rule then nobody should ever be parolled. They must judge on the evidence presented to them and we need to hope they make the right call. We can't assume this is the wrong decision and keeping him incarcerated would be the right one - nobody can see the future.

gostraighttojail Thu 04-Jul-13 21:10:22

So, northernlurker, would you want him living next door/hanging out at your local pool, where you take the kids/down the pub etc etc (and you wouldn't even know about it)?

I am usually fairly liberal but I think he should be locked up for life.

What do I know about anybody else at the pub or the pool or the school gate? He may move in next to me. I wouldn't know and as long as he keeps within the law I have no need to know. I treat my neighbours as I would wish to be treated - with respect. Do I want to live next to somebody who continues to connive at the abuse of children. No I don't - but that's ok because the parole board has said that won't be happening. I don't think Denise Fergus should have to live in fear that she'll run in to him in the post office or supermarket but she and her family are the only ones entitled to that consideration. There are plenty of people on parole living all around us. Why should Venables be differently treated because we loathe him so much. Fear and anger is no motivator for justice.

gostraighttojail Thu 04-Jul-13 21:32:06

Why should he be treated differently you asked, northernlurker?

Because he had proven himself, on more than one occasion to be utterly depraved.

I admire and respect your POV and wish I agreed. In fact I often argue exactly what you are saying wrt other criminals released into the community.

But not this time. What he did was just too extreme. And coupled with the conviction from a few years ago. No. hmm

mayorquimby Thu 04-Jul-13 22:48:36

"Those boys should have never been released and venables convictions since proove exactly why-still a danger to children!!"

Surely Thompson proves the exact opposite could be argued with equal merit.

edam Thu 04-Jul-13 22:53:24

Northern, I understand that the best predictor of future behaviour wrt criminality, especially for offenders with mental disorders, is past behaviour.

But by that logic then you wouldn't parole anybody convicted of a crime and everybody convicted would reoffend - and that simply isn't the case.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Jul-13 07:17:21

"Those boys should have never been released and venables convictions since proove exactly why-still a danger to children!!"

Surely Thompson proves the exact opposite could be argued with equal merit.


TheFallenNinja Fri 05-Jul-13 07:25:36

Words fail me really. The mother is essentially a lone voice wanting him to remain in prison, on the other hand Venables has countless people in positions of power wanting him released.

They released him once and very quickly he reoffends and has to go back inside, who in their right mind believes this time will be any different. What do they think has changed?

Oh fgs, seriously??

Those 10yo boys tortured James, read what they did.
They should have never been released at all.

I don't have any sympathy for those men, they should have served life for what they did.

James never had a chance at life, neither should they.

glastocat Fri 05-Jul-13 07:33:58

I was a supporter in them being released and given another chance, they had, after all done their time. However Venebles blew his chance, and I really can't see how they can justify spending vast sums on giving him yet another identity and no doubt keeping him under close supervision for the rest of his life. I'm the biggest liberal going, but would love to know the justification behind this, they surely can't think he is no longer a huge risk after offending so seriously for a second time, and well into adulthood this time?

mayorquimby Fri 05-Jul-13 07:49:45

"Those 10yo boys"
"10yo boys"

No problem with people who think that he shouldn't be paroled having reoffended and proven himself a dangerous adult.
Baffled by those who want to see two children, for whom the age of criminal responsibility was lowered, locked up for life rather than rehabilitated.
As far as we're all aware one of those 10 year old boys has proven himself capable of rejoining society and not posing a threat and abides by his parole terms.

LeGavrOrf Fri 05-Jul-13 07:53:10

I agree with northern and mayorquimby.

DoctorAnge Fri 05-Jul-13 07:59:30

Oh no why oh why do they keep releasing this man?

You don't just get cured of the kind of sickness he has.

"As far as we are all aware" - exactly this, we don't know.

mayorquimby Fri 05-Jul-13 08:40:58

Jesus wept

hackmum Fri 05-Jul-13 09:38:06

mayorquimby:"Baffled by those who want to see two children, for whom the age of criminal responsibility was lowered, locked up for life rather than rehabilitated."

Yes. There's also a curious cognitive dissonance going on whereby people seem to regard a 15-year old girl as a "child" incapable of giving consent to a sexual relationship but think that a 10-year old boy must take full responsibility for his criminal actions.

TheRealFellatio Fri 05-Jul-13 09:42:16

I know he was only 10 when he did what he did, but I do not see how anyone capable of such a depraved level of violence and torture against a vulnerable, innocent baby is EVER capable of reform. There must be something so damaged and fundamentally wicked and wrong about your heart and your brain that no amount of therapy can undo it.

On on mn do people apologise for these boysgrin


mercibucket Fri 05-Jul-13 09:44:45

they should never have spent their childhood and adolescence in prison, even a young offender prison

i wish they had had better long term psychiatric care within a family/foster family setting

Fairylea Fri 05-Jul-13 09:46:18

How many chances should someone get, at the expense of public money and more importantly, child protection? It's ridiculous.

He should be locked up and key thrown away.

He is a totally sick and rotten individual.

mercibucket Fri 05-Jul-13 09:46:27

thats really not true, therealfellatio

Dumpylump Fri 05-Jul-13 09:48:51

Genuine question - is it normal for someone's parole to be public knowledge?
Is it always in the public domain, but only hits the media when it can be made front page news?

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 09:55:25

Fairlylea - public expense? Do you know how much it costs to keep someone in prison, for a year? Around £37,000.

TheRealFallatio - no that isn't true. Not sure where you get that perspective from really. Unless you are an experienced psychiatric clinician?

ConfuzzledMummy Fri 05-Jul-13 10:13:43

I'm gobsmacked at some of the replies on here! Goody two shoes who think these sort of "people"(and I use that phrase lightly) can be rehabilitated into society. They are child killers not only that but Venables has been looking at category 5 child porn, does that sound like someone who has been rehabilitated?!?!? Poor James didn't stand a chance with those monsters and there's people on here who sat they have served their time, they were young boys when it happened. They are the epitome of pure evil and if you can't see that god help us. It's people like you who will be campaigning for them to be embraced into society and allow them to be near our children because they're changed characters. Makes me so angry that people actually give two fucks about these animals, these cases are the only time when I would support the death sentence.

Branleuse Fri 05-Jul-13 10:17:13

im pretty leftie liberal pansy etc, but i dont think he should be released.
I thought he needed to be given a second chance before, but hes shown hes still a danger to children, and it just isnt wrth the risk

TabithaStephens Fri 05-Jul-13 10:33:35

It's time we held the people responsible for releasing criminals accountable for any crimes committed by the people they claim are "no danger to society". It makes me sick, these people live in posh areas where crime is low, meanwhile the normal working class person has to live with the consequences of our soft legal system.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 10:38:14

to be fair, the parole system works pretty well ordinarily, around a 92% success rate for people released on parole who don't re-offend whilst on parole (not incl. those on standard determinate sentences). And release isn't on the criterion of 'no danger to society', it's on 'can whatever risk they currently present be reasonably be managed in the community?'
And we just don't know what has happened with Venables since his recall.

Wallison Fri 05-Jul-13 10:41:42

If he's being released, then the parole board had their reasons. They have access to detailed information about him, his behaviour and his attitudes which will affect how he is in society. In short, they know a fuck of a lot more about him than a bunch of people on a talkboard, and they are the only ones who can make this decision.

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 10:52:27

Probably a stupid question... But, what exactly is the problem with him voluntarily revealing his identity? He's an adult, presumably understands the possible consequences of doing so; why are the state determined to act as his nanny for the rest of his life?
He's had his shot at the new identity which should have kept him safe, why on earth should further resources be wasted at reigning him in again? Free will, and all that.

ClaraOswald Fri 05-Jul-13 10:52:49

They'll have had access to that same information last time he was let out and he has gone on to commit more crimes. That worked really well, didn't it?

TabithaStephens Fri 05-Jul-13 10:55:46

Who are the parole board accountable to?

Wallison Fri 05-Jul-13 10:56:56

Floggingmolly, I would guess because him revealing his identity does not only have an impact on him but on the people who would do him damage and thus commit a violent crime; to my mind, it's not in the public interest to reveal information about someone that doesn't do anyone any good and will result in an act of violence being committed.

ClaraOswald, yes he went on to commit a crime. However, most of the time parole boards do get it right. And what is the alternative? Do away with parole boards and lock people up forever? Or allow a bunch of mumsnetters to say who should and shouldn't be released?

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 11:03:48

Arguably it wasn't known that he had any desire to view abusive images. He'd been locked up since he was 10 years old. Which is what I meant by 'risks they currently present' - that one wasn't known in all probability as he had no opportunity to exercise it.
and yes the National Offender Management Service have a duty of care to those under their supervision, and taking steps to ensure they don't end up being knifed by some old testament 'life for a life' type would come under that, I assume. As well as not putting those around him equally in harms way.

mayorquimby Fri 05-Jul-13 11:05:52

"Goody two shoes who think these sort of "people"(and I use that phrase lightly) can be rehabilitated into society"

One of them has been.

"im pretty leftie liberal pansy etc, but i dont think he should be released.
I thought he needed to be given a second chance before, but hes shown hes still a danger to children, and it just isnt wrth the risk"

If agree completely based on the knowledge available to me.

mercibucket Fri 05-Jul-13 11:09:24


mumsnetters who'd like to see 10 year olds hanged/killed by lethal injection/in the electric chair

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 11:14:06

Wallison. So we have to continually save people from themselves, no matter what the cost from already scarce resources?
My own view would be let him reveal what he will and let natural justice prevail; but I realise I'll be in a minority of one on that.

DoctorAnge Fri 05-Jul-13 11:18:06

How do the supporters of him on here feel about his penchant for Cat.5 images of child abuse. Considering his past crime? Where do you feel this obsession of his will end?

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 11:19:54

'natural justice'? What on earth does that mean, outside of living like animals in a jungle? Is that what we want for a society?
The likely outcome is that he gets killed eventually, and then we have a one or more murders inside, taking up even more of the public purse, at approx £37,000 per year.
The desire for 'punishment' seems to be clouding an ability to think things through to the consequences stage.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 11:22:00

I don't think he has 'supporters' here tbh.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 05-Jul-13 11:32:03

A few people on here don't seem to understand the difference between revenge and punishment. It is the mark of a civilised society that our justice system can.

DoctorAnge Fri 05-Jul-13 11:36:16

ok supporters of his release

I agree with mayorquimby and NorthernLurker personally, I don't think he should be released, I think he's still a danger, but the law isn't based on my opinion. The parole board have to follow what the law states and not pander to the, understandably, visceral public emotions surrounding his crimes.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 11:46:34

Dr - yes it makes it more problematic (though I'm not sure we can call it an 'obsession') though there will be a licence condition that he has to register any device with access to the internet to his probation officer and the local Sex Offender Management Unit (SOMU) for checking at any time. < the internet is now seen as part of successful living so banning it;s use entirely is seen as counter-productive>.

HouseAtreides Fri 05-Jul-13 11:50:24

I can't find a link for it, but in one of the Scandinavian countries they had the murder of a young girl by two young boys. The community didn't bay for blood, they looked at what had gone so badly wrong in the boys' lives to make them do it. They rehabilitated them instead of condemning them as evil for the rest of their lives and locking them away like adult criminals.
Annoyingly vague, but I can't remember what country it was so can't find the story.

House It was Norway, I remember the case, details here.

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 11:52:57

I mentioned natural justice simply because he appears to be voluntarily disclosing his identity. He hasn't been thrown to the wolves; he's had millions invested in keeping him safe, why would more millions being chucked at the problem prevent him disclosing it again?

Natural justice, you mean vigilantism? That's not justice.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 11:57:40

on the Copine Scale 5 thing, the mechanics of it are that they often come in 'packages' of images, so it's not always possible to know exactly what is being received in detail. Also, there is a culture amongst internet offenders to see who is 'brave' enough. IT doesn't necessarily mean they are sexually excited by Scale 5 images, just massively irresponsible and stupid ( and of course adding to the horrible industry by their actions), tho' some may find them a turn on.
But the internet issue will no doubt be part of his risk management package.

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 11:58:28

My point is that he appears to be hellbent on revealing who he is, for reasons best known to himself. None of the potentional consequences of this are being forced on him.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 12:00:37

taking your point Flogging but we do have a responsibility to do what is reasonably possible to avoid a further death and more long term sentences for his assailant(s).

Growlithe Fri 05-Jul-13 12:01:15

I think he is broken, and it was probably the original crime that did it. I think Robert Thompson was the lucky one, he seems to have been rehabilitated, but Venables seems to be over the edge for rehabilitation.

Question is, what do you do with a broken person?

mayorquimby Fri 05-Jul-13 12:03:19

"So we have to continually save people from themselves, no matter what the cost from already scarce resources? "

I think a large degree of it is also saving the public from themselves. A lot of people may feel justified in committing crimes towards him, and not just the big ones (assault etc) or crimes that directly effect him.
There may be a lot of low level vandalism, perhaps arson which would impinge on other citizens and as has been seen before the potential for innocent citizens to be targeted in the belief that its him.

"How do the supporters of him on here feel about his penchant for Cat.5 images of child abuse. Considering his past crime? Where do you feel this obsession of his will end?"

Nobody is supporting him, very few are even supporting his release. The most positive thing said in his favour has been people saying that they have faith in the parole board.
What people are saying is that this does not justify the attitude that 10 year olds who commit horrific acts should be locked up for life based on the belief that hey are inherently evil and cant be rehabilitated,because even based on this very small sample size 50% have been rehabilitated.

Even with venables one could still argue that the public lynching of a 10 year old and trying him as an adult, raising them in institutions and appointing them as the national bogeymen is in fact a way of guaranteeing reoffending

mayorquimby Agreed, there's already been a case of someone mistakenly being identified as one of the boys, who ended up committing suicide because of the harassment.

PeterParkerSays Fri 05-Jul-13 12:13:00

I know this is a side issue, but can anyone remember whether Venebles parents were convicted of anything relating to his upbringing? I was only a child at the time, so didn't get to read the details in the newspapers, but I understand that he had a worse upbringing than Thompson, who seems to have been reformed.

As they produced a child who could stone a toddler to death and had an interest in Category 5 child pornography, I presume that questions must have been asked of them regrding how they brought him up / possible abuse. Did anything come of this?

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 05-Jul-13 12:15:53

I'm with Northern and MayorQuimby here. I really, really struggle with the idea of locking up two 10-year-olds and throwing away the key. That's only 2 years older than DS. I think Venables is quite possibly broken, and I don't know what the answer is, but AFAIK Thompson has been successfully rehabilitated into society. What had happened in the 10 years of their lives before they killed James to make them carry out such an atrocity? I can totally see Denise Fergus' point, but she is never, ever going to have an objective view, which is why crime victims don't decide sentences, release dates etc.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 05-Jul-13 12:21:38

Agree with northernlurker and mayorquimby.

I also don't necessarily agree that he should be released just yet but for comments to be made on here that a 10 year old should be killed for his crimes is frightening.

Yes, what they did was absolutely horrendous but people are so focused on what they did and exacting revenge rather than looking at why they did it and trying to rehabilitate them. I am amazed that one of them has managed to be rehabilitated given they spent most of their childhood/informative years locked away.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 05-Jul-13 12:25:02

PeterParker - also remember that one of them had a horrendous upbringing, think it was Venables but not 100%. Believe the family went into hiding so not sure whether they were held to account. But, yes, you have got to think that family upbringing played a major part in this and that shouldn't be forgotten.

"There may be a lot of low level vandalism, perhaps arson which would impinge on other citizens and as has been seen before the potential for innocent citizens to be targeted in the belief that its him."

Not disagreeing with your overall post but surely misidentification is more likely to happen if he doesn't reveal who he is?

I agree wth FloggingMolly that if he chooses to reveal his identity as an adult, he shouldn't be prevented from doing so. The general public should not have to protected from their own actions - if they choose to attack him then they face the consequences as always.

Maryz Fri 05-Jul-13 12:32:44

I also agree with northern and others. We have to trust the authorities to do what they think best - if we don't, what are we left with? Should we all be able to make individual decisions on what punishment criminals should have?

We either go with the system of law or we descend into anarchy.

The Norwegian case made for interesting reading. In my opinion (and it's only opinion), Venables is on a path of self-destruction, which is quite possibly brought on by immense guilt. It's almost as though he is trying to prove that he is as bad as everyone thinks he is, which is very sad. His insistence on letting everyone know who he is looks to me like a desperate attempt to look for more punishment.

KingRollo Fri 05-Jul-13 12:33:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mayorquimby Fri 05-Jul-13 12:35:33

"Not disagreeing with your overall post but surely misidentification is more likely to happen if he doesn't reveal who he is?"

I think it's one you can argue either way so I'd accept your point.
The last time his name was in the paper when he reoffended the police stated he was in custody, this didn't stop the competitively outraged on fb naming an innocent man as JV despite him not being in custody. In short I don't trust the public with any information like this, they'll commit any sort of moral gymnastics to justify their conspiracy theory.
So either they'd still just point the finger at some random lad and say they heard from x who heard from his brother who's a copper that this is really him. Or else anyone with the same name.
As I say you could equally argue your point so its one I wouldn't fight too hard ahainst

Branleuse Fri 05-Jul-13 12:47:43

That norway case is completely different to the bulger case. Not even comparable.

Maryz Fri 05-Jul-13 12:49:06

Why not Branleuse?

If two six year old boys murdered a five year old girl in the UK the Daily Mail would be out for blood.

PrincessFiorimonde Fri 05-Jul-13 12:50:11

I agree with northernlurker, mayorquimby, etc.

Anyone else remember the case of Mary Bell? She was 11 when she killed 2 little boys in 1968. She was sentenced to life imprisonment and served 12 years in young offenders'/adult prisons.

She's been out for over 30 years and as far as I know has never been in any other sort of trouble.

So no need to suggest that children who kill other children (the very rarest of crimes, I imagine) are irredeemably evil and can't be rehabilitated.

Branleuse Fri 05-Jul-13 13:06:29

If he had kept his head down and got on with his life, then id think hed been sucessfully rehabilitated, but he was charged with having the most hideous kinds of images of children being raped. I think hes had his chance. I think society is now a danger to him, and hes a danger to society.

Fairylea Fri 05-Jul-13 13:52:34

Of course I know how much it costs to keep someone in prison (someone asked me that upthread). So far he has had 3 new identities, numerous court costs, psychologist and probation costs and everything else. If anything I would say the costs are comparable with keeping him in, especially as I think it is highly likely he will yet again reoffend. Also, although he was arrested for child pornography, he had been revealing his true identity to many people before he was arrested, hence his photo supposedly plastered all over the internet. I don't see why he would be so keen to keep yet another new identity a secret when he wouldn't before. How many new identities is he going to be given?

I always find it surprising that mumsnet, a forum predominantly full of parents, is so laid back when it comes to releasing paedophiles back into the community, which is exactly what venables is. I have debated this on many forums and it seems to only be here everyone is so lenient.

And yes I do understand then workings of the law and so on, more than some might assume. I also have extensive knowledge of the family backgrounds of Thompson and venables. It hasn't changed my views at all.

What Bran says, he has had his chance, he blew it many times. His chances should now be over, he should remain in prison.

And the costs of him remaining in prison are worth if it stops him harming more children or watching level 5 child porn and maybe worse next time.

People being apologetic of these killers, don't forget they killed a child, not just killed, mutilated too remember that. Remember James, he didn't have a chance at life, they took his away- whether they were 10 or 20 is irrelevent.

Suzieismyname Fri 05-Jul-13 14:12:10

Whether they boys were 10 or 20 is completely relevant to how they should be dealt with.
What they did was abominable. But to suggest that 10/11 year olds should be EXECUTED or locked away forever is abhorrent. This is the 21st century, not the 18th!

They should have been locked away forever, what they did goes beyond evil. 10yo know right from wrong.

You take a life, you should be willing to give your own up.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 05-Jul-13 14:21:36

I agree, whether they are 10 or 20 IS relevant.

A 10 year old might not know right from wrong if they are not taught what is right and wrong by their parents.

Floggingmolly Fri 05-Jul-13 14:37:48

Right from wrong, in a general sense, yes. But I can't agree that any 10 year old needed to be taught specifically that mutilating a baby was wrong.
That's inherently evil.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 05-Jul-13 15:07:27

They learnt it from somewhere - either watching video nasties/online or from the parents/family. In my experience and opinon children that come from an abusive background become abusive themselves.

YoungBritishPissArtist Fri 05-Jul-13 15:09:32

Just type JV's name into Google and you can easily find his new name and recent photos.

I've a feeling he'll out himself at some point, maybe go to the papers. Like PPs have said, he seems to be self-destructing.

nennypops Fri 05-Jul-13 15:20:45

I completely agree that it is not for Daily Mail readers or MNers or anyone to decide that they know better than the parole board. Not only do we not have the relevant expertise and experience, we haven't seen all the reports that they will have relied on.

I also completely agree that the idea of locking away two 10 year old boys for ever is absolutely horrifying, particularly boys who had had the sort of upbringing these two had. Again, it is ludicrous to generalise about what a 10 year old does or does not know about right and wrong.

What I really hate is the fact that the tabloids make a massive fuss about this not because they actually care but because it sells papers and gets people to click on their website. Every single time they send some reporter off to doorstep Denise Bulger for a quote, and every time it must simply make it more difficult for her to let go and get on with her life - which can only harm her and her other children.

Chivetalking Fri 05-Jul-13 16:02:00

Neither of them served time in an adult prison. I think there would have been less outrage if he'd been perceived to have paid at least some dues.
As it stands he's chucked his good fortune in escaping a tougher environment and his hugely expensive new identity in everyone's faces. I'm not surprised James' parents are incandescent.

I hope this latest move doesn't end in tears but I'm not holding my breath.

KingRollo Fri 05-Jul-13 16:34:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

A point of order - anybody who thinks that a child who commits a crime (any child at all) should be incarcerated for life is NOT liberal. You cannot describe yourself as 'I'm very liberal but...' and then put that kind of brutality in your sentence. A rethink of your whole philosophical standing is needed.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Jul-13 16:38:27

whether they were 10 or 20 is irrelevent.

Really? You think a 10 year old and a 20 year old have the same level of self awareness etc? That seems pretty stupid to me.

YoungBritishPissArtist Fri 05-Jul-13 16:50:53

Had baby Peter Connolly survived, it's not unthinkable that he wouldn't have done something similar. I imagine people'd be out in the streets baying for his blood.

When I find myself thinking 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' I imagine JV and RT as a defenceless Baby P.

timidviper Fri 05-Jul-13 16:56:13

personally I do not thin he should be released, not just for what he did to James Bulger, but for the combination of that with the child porn offences when he was supposedly rehabilitated.

I think if the parole board release him again it should be on the proviso that if he commits any further offences he will not be given any more new identities.

bottleofbeer Fri 05-Jul-13 18:03:29

I've never read anybody apologising "for those boys".

I'm just as sickened by adults who called for their head's on plates as I am about what they did.

Yeah yeah, we all know not every abused child goes on to abuse (or indeed, kill) but had the extent of their abuse come to light before they killed we'd have been hand wringingly appalled. They finally act as a product of their upbringing and the abuse that went before suddenly doesn't matter. Hell, the evil little bastards probably deserved it.

The ONLY thing a civilised society could have done was try to rehabilitate children. No, I won't go and read what they did thanks all the same.

Venables has continued to fuck up, he's an adult now with presumably an adult's rationale so throw away the key for all I care but people who try and understand what happened and the terrible chain of events that led to that point, who don't and never did want to see children hang or even spend the rest of their lives in prison are not apologists.

Seriously, you want to live in the kind of society that wrote children off and threw away the key? think about that...

IWantATowel Fri 05-Jul-13 18:26:53

God help this sick world.

Orianne Fri 05-Jul-13 18:27:11

Are there statistics on the rehabilitation of convicted paedophiles? I've heard they can't be 'cured' but wondered if that was a made up media thing or statistically proven.

& it goes on....

I'm entitled to my opinion & so are you. These weren't normal 10yo, for venables he has continued to carry on a strange path of evil.
I'm all for rehabilitation regarding children that steal, damage property and take drugs etc, but these 10yo killed a 2yo in a prolonged attack in cold blood. Sorry that my heart doesn't bleed for them, and i never said i wanted their heads on sticks. I said they would be best locked up to save other children.

Thing is, rehabilitating him could cost more children's lifes, after all venables is a murderer and a paedophile to boot, not quite someone i would want being around the community, neither do most people i rl, only on here weirdly.

The only ones i feel sorry for are the parents of james & his family. Their child had his life snatched.

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bottleofbeer Fri 05-Jul-13 19:01:47

Yeah but it's easy to think of them in an abstract way as evil little psychos.

Got kids? got them ten or over? if so, imagine how you'd feel if they were so hated as adults that they had to have totally new identities for something they did at ten. Think how young a ten year old actually is.

Only on here? you sure? because strangely I live in the real world too and plenty of people live around me. I'd prefer it if anybody who was a threat to children wasn't in any community but they are. You're just not allowed to say out loud that you don't hate ten year olds.

No, they weren't normal ten year olds, surely that goes without saying? are we not interested in what brings a child to the point they can do something like that? or should we just wait for them to do it and then lock them up for life? like it or not, no matter what they did they were still children and they were abused and/or grew up in an abusive environment. Do abused kids only matter as long as they grow up to break the cycle?

Oh and nor does it mean I don't feel sorry for James' family. I was 14 when it happened and two miles from the idiots banging on a police van to show how righteously angry they were (so angry, they wanted to kill children for uhm, child murder) and my thoughts at the time were the same as they are now. An utter tragedy for three children. I do not care on iota about Venables as an adult who made adult choices to reoffend. I will not write off ten year olds.

PrincessFiorimonde Fri 05-Jul-13 19:34:04

But, * pumpkin*, rehabilitation worked for Mary Bell and seems to be working for Robert Thompson too.

Gwendoline, earlier, ConfuzzledMummy (unless I misread her) did indeed say that these two 10yo boys should have faced the death sentence.

BOF Fri 05-Jul-13 19:44:26

Yes, bottleofbeer, I totally agree.

Panonabike Fri 05-Jul-13 20:57:41

'Rehabilitation' works every day, even with some of the most difficult-to-reach people. We just don't hear about it because it isn't newsworthy and doesn't sell newspapers or on-line sponsorship.

Pixel Fri 05-Jul-13 21:02:01

i wish they had had better long term psychiatric care within a family/foster family setting

Really? You think foster parents should have taken into their family a boy who was capable of torturing a baby? The possible results of that don't bear thinking about.

Growlithe Fri 05-Jul-13 21:18:36

I agree with you too bottleofbeer.

What stopped these two being 'normal 10 year old boys'. It starts with the nature or nurture debate doesn't it? What brought those two boys to the point that they would do this? Was it in them, or was their upbringing so appalling that it lead to this?

I watched a Horizon programme some time ago about what makes you evil. Scientists thought they could spot something common in the brain scans of murders. They went further to also identify a common gene. (This is from memory so don't shoot me if I haven't got it 100% right, it was on years ago!)

Anyway, it turned out that one of the scientists tested himself, and he had both common traits, yet he obviously wasn't a psychopath. His family weren't actually surprised that he had them. But the difference was he had had a very very happy childhood. They aso suggested that a lot of CEOs of big companies could also have the brain and the gene bits, using the traits sort of to the good.

The conclusion seemed to be, there were 3 elements - the brain make up, the gene, and the upbringing. Nature and nurture.

So that could explain how those two boys got there. And they were failed nurture wise. But how did one get rehabilitated (assuming he did) and one didn't? Is that the nature bit?

So that's the thing that I don't agree with you on bottleofbeer. I think we should care a lot about the choices Jon Venables makes as an adult. I think even if free he should be placed in some sort of close supervision situation, for an extended period. I think we should continually try to reverse the nurture part of his story. I think we could learn something that may help us as a society rehabilitate others who could be capable of this.

bottleofbeer Fri 05-Jul-13 22:45:35

When I say I don't care, I just mean that I'm not gnashing my teeth feeling sorry for him for the things he's done as an adult.

I think they were very damaged kids, I think a horrible set of circumstances came together at once. I don't think child murder was ever really some big plan. I think things went too far. Kids pulling the wings off an insect on a much, much bigger scale.

They walked right past the main exit/entrance of The Strand (the butchers was on the ground floor, Mothercare where the CCTV captures them with James was on the first floor and to get to the first floor you've walked past said entrance) if the big plan was to take a child and murder them why have they walked around the shopping centre in full view and not just taken him straight out? and intention is a huge part of this.

I hate what they did, but the media is so bloody irresponsible in this. Two years later a little girl was murdered on the very same stretch of rail track by kids. Does anyone even know her name? the kids who killed her were older. The very fact of their young age is always what's given this case it's fuel and why we're still talking about it 20 years later.

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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

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?

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

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.

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 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...

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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