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Monday, 21 August, 2000, 04:44 GMT 05:44 UK
Bulger killers launch privacy fight
Jon Venables (left) and Robert Thompson
Venables (left) and Thompson are 'terrified' of being thrown into the media spotlight
The two boys convicted of killing two-year-old James Bulger in 1993 are to launch a High Court legal battle in an attempt to maintain their privacy after their 18th birthdays.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were just 11 when they were sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of Merseyside toddler James Bulger.

An injunction imposed at the time, which banned the media from publishing photographs or details about the boys, were valid until they reached 18.

James Bulger was abducted from a shopping centre
Lawyers for the pair, who both turn 18 this month, are to go to the High Court in November to request that the injunction be continued.

John Dickinson, Venables' solicitors, said: "We are going to court aiming to prevent photographs being taken and their progress being reported amongst other things.

"We are going to be asking for it while they're in the children's home, that is one aspect of it."


A private hearing last month granted interim injunctions until the hearing in November.

Venables and Thompson are said to be worried at the prospect of being thrown into the media spotlight.

In June it emerged that the killers would probably never be transferred to an adult prison, but would remain in local authority care until they were 19.

The pair would then be transferred to a young offenders' institution if they had not completed the minimum sentence which Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, is expected to announce imminently.

At the time of their conviction, the trial judge at Preston Crown Court recommended a minimum sentence of eight years and the then Lord Chief Justice, the late Lord Taylor of Gosforth, suggested 10.

The matter was referred to Lord Woolf by Home Secretary Jack Straw after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was wrong for former home secretary Michael Howard to have set a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Lord Woolf has said that before making his decision he will consult James Bulger's family for their views.

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16 Dec 99 | UK
Q&A: The Bulger case
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