Jon Venables: Should his identity be revealed?


The secret identity of James Bulger's killer Jon Venables should be revealed because he is a danger to the public, say Brunel students.

Here at IKB Insider, we spoke to a sample of students to get their views on whether or not Venables should have his new identity revealed in the wake of him being sentenced to 40 months in prison on possession of indecent images of children. All six students we interviewed agree with this.

"He's not a child anymore. He is a danger and he has had too many chances now," says Kunwar Kapoor, 21.

Venables was given a new identity after being released from detention in 2001 after serving 8 years for the murder of James Bulger in 1993. He was given this to protect him from possible attacks from the public, and to give him the chance for a fresh start at life. However, an 18-year-old student who wished to remain anonymous says: "He should not be protected by the courts at the sake of his human rights that he has abused due to his despicable crimes."

Many students worry for parents and their children due to the fact that Venables is a convicted offender. "Parents need to know who he is now as he is a danger to children, especially because this is his second time being found in possession of child pornography. He was also out of prison for a while after being released for the first conviction," says Anika Acther, 18.

Urmi Laca, 19, says she does not want her future children to be under threat from a convicted offender such as Venables, especially 'one whose name we don't even know', and who will be out in three years, or even less. "He has blown his chances of starting a new life since James Bulger's murder," she said.

40 months also seems like a lenient sentence to most students. Yasin Ahmed, 22 says: "He should be in prison for much longer, he's been caught with child pornography and that is a serious offence. The public have a right to know who he is in case he is released again."

Meanwhile Uzair Khan, 21 believes the death penalty should be reinstated. "He should get a lifetime sentence for what he did - not just the child pornography, but also for James' murder. Crimes like this make me wish the death penalty hadn't been abolished."

The murder of James Bulger was a crime that shocked Britain, due largely to the fact that his killers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were aged only 10 at the time of the crime.

This is the second time Venables has been found guilty of possessing child pornography.

In 2001, Venables and Thompson were released from youth detention with new identities under a witness protection order. The court later placed an injunction on the media, which makes it an offence to publish any information that could lead to their identity. This injunction extends to outside of the UK, so publishing information that could lead to identification abroad can still be a breach.

Since then, the parents of James Bulger have called for his identity to be revealed. Venables' former solicitor, Laurence Lee, also agrees, and was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: "I have every sympathy for the Bulger family and if I was in their shoes I would be shouting as loud as they are for his anonymity. He's had his chances - anonymity has been wasted on him."

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