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Saturday, 23 June, 2001, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Bulger killers win freedom
The release of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson may come within days
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, now aged 18, have spent eight years in secure accommodation for the murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. They have been freed on life licences.

Below, BBC News Online looks back at the sequence of events surrounding the case.


23 June 2001

The Manchester Evening News may be prosecuted

The Manchester Evening News is in talks with the Attorney General after it published information on the whereabouts of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The BBC's John Thorne reports.


 Click here to watch


22 June 2001

James Bulger
James Bulger

The killers of James Bulger have been released on life licences by the Parole Board. Robert Thompson and Jon Venables have been given new, secret identities.


 The BBC's Margaret Gilmore reports on the decision to free the killers

 The BBC's Jane Peel looks at the background to the case

 Liverpool Echo editor Mark Dickinson: "In a poll conducted by our paper 35,000 thought it was too early to release them"


18 June 2001

Protesters at the parole hearing
Protesters at the parole hearing

Protesters demonstrate outside the Parole Board headquarters in London against the expected decision to free the killers of James Bulger. Jon Venables' case was the first to be heard, taking place at a secret location.


 The BBC's Jane Peel reports: 56k


26 October 2000

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson could be freed within months after the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, ruled the process of parole could begin immediately. His decision provokes stiff opposition from many people on Merseyside.

 The BBC's Jane Peel reports: 56k


16 December 1999

Judge Julius Wildhaber of the European Court of Human Rights
Judge Julius Wildhaber of the European Court of Human Rights

The Home Secretary Jack Straw has promised changes to the way juveniles are prosecuted after the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the Bulger case. The Strasbourg judges decided that the killers of Merseyside toddler James Bulger did not receive a fair trial.


 Joshua Rozenberg reports: 56k


24 November 1993

Anger outside the court as Venables and Thompson are driven away
Anger outside the court as Venables and Thompson are driven away

Thompson and Venables are named by the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Morland, after a jury convicts them of murdering James Bulger. As well as losing their anonymity the boys, both aged 10, are sentenced to secure youth accommodation with a recommendation they serve at least eight years.


 Polly Toynbee reports: 56k


12 February 1993

The toddler's body was found on a railway track
The toddler's body was found on a railway track

The murder of two-year-old James Bulger, who was abducted from a busy shopping centre in Bootle, on Merseyside, leaves the whole country in shock. Detectives investigating the killing say he was horrifically murdered. His body was found on a railway line two miles from where his mother last saw him.


 The BBC's Paul Newman reports: 56k


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