The mother of murder victim James Bulger today pleads with parole board chiefs to reject killer Jon Venables’ bid for freedom, saying: “He’s a monster.” In an impassioned plea ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, Denise Fergus calls on the board to “please, please, make the right call and keep Venables away from other kids like James”.

Denise, whose two-year-old son was tortured and murdered by Venables and Robert Thompson in 1993 when they were 10 years old, told how she would “crumble” if he was released back on to the streets.

In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, Denise, 54, said: “Tuesday is one of the biggest days ever in our fight for justice for James. It feels like D-Day.

“I’m anxious and it’s been hard not to think of much else because the importance of this week is so great. Our fate is in the hands of parole board bosses, so I beg them to make the right decision for everyone and keep my son’s killer behind bars.

“Venables has had so many chances in the past and he’s blown them all. He doesn’t care. He seriously doesn’t care about anybody.”

In a direct message to the parole board, she said: “Look into my eyes and see what I’ve had to deal with for 30 years – three decades of hell. Keep people safe from this monster, because that is what he is, and don’t give him what he wants.

“If he goes on to commit more crimes after you release him, it will be on your shoulders. So, I’m just asking you to do the right thing.”

She predicts a national outcry if Venables, now 41, is given parole. Denise said: “If they do release him I dread to think what will happen. I’ll probably initially crumble and then I’ll be on the warpath.
   ”There would be national outcry. But I have to have confidence that the parole board won’t let that happen.”

James was murdered by Venables and Thompson after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside. They dragged him two miles to a railway line, where they tortured and battered him to death.

They were convicted of murder in November 1993 and ordered to be detained indefinitely, but were released, aged 18, in 2001 with new identities after less than eight years.

Thompson, now 41, has never re-offended. But Venables was sent back to jail in 2010 and 2017 after being caught with child sex abuse images on his computer.

He was turned down for parole in 2020 having served his minimum 40 months’ sentence, but has now made a new bid for freedom.

He has been granted an unprecedented two-day hearing, to be held in private, where Venables, psychologists and prison staff will make submissions about why they think he has been rehabilitated.

The hearing at a secret location will also hear Denise’s victim impact statement and written pleas from Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and predecessor Dominic Raab about the danger Venables poses.

It is thought a decision on parole will be made seven to 10 days after the hearing ends. It was made private after Venables’ legal team argued it being public would “affect his long-term health”.

Denise said: “I would have liked to have gone, but I can’t. The chair of the parole board said, ‘We’re not sure about the mental state of the defendant’. But what about the mental state he put James’ family in?

“He seems to have the upper hand. He gets protected. He gets a new identity. He gets a private hearing. Sometimes it feels like we are the criminals, not him, which is ridiculous.”

Denise, who has three other sons Michael, Thomas and Leon, and a granddaughter, said she had written an emotive victim impact statement.

She said: “It outlines the grief we have gone through over the last 30 years and how this man should never see the light of day again. He has no idea what he has put us through.

“The actions of those two have affected three generations – me, my children and my granddaughter. She’s so young she doesn’t understand, but she’s got to grow up with this as well. It’s not fair on her, on the boys, on us.”

When the hearing starts on Tuesday, Denise, who lives in Merseyside with her husband Stuart, will try to keep busy.

She said: “I’ll probably do the house from top to bottom to take my mind off it – that’s what I do when I’m worried.

“We’re not going to get told anything after this week’s hearing, it will be a couple of weeks. I won’t be going out because people will be stopping me. It’s nice they want to show they are on my side, but it’s going to be a tough couple of weeks for me. It will be torture, limbo.”

Denise said she had found it hard not to think about the hearing, saying she would “suddenly switch off” as thoughts of it returned to prey on her mind.

Stuart said: “Denise will sit and have a coffee and she’ll just start talking about the hearing. She doesn’t want to, but that’s her mindset now. It’s on her mind.”

She has already considered how she will react if Venables is freed. She said: “It will hit me like a ton of bricks, but then I’ll be on the warpath. I’ll have to call a meeting with the Prime Minister because I’ll want to know why. If that happens I’ll go into another gear.


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