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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
'A weeping sore that may never heal'
A reader with a copy of the Liverpool Echo outside Bootle's Strand shopping centre
Many in Merseyside are angry at the decision
Liverpool Echo editor Mark Dickinson has experienced first-hand the anger many on Merseyside feel about the parole of James Bulger's killers.

We believe the decision of the parole board is wrong in principle and an insult to all who allowed James to touch their lives.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables have been released sooner than I or my readers wished.

Lord Justice Woolf was in my view totally wrong to allow their parole application in the first place.

Home Secretary David Blunkett, however, has had no option but to accept the decision to free them.

We must all reach into our hearts to reach a point where we agree to disagree. And move on

James Bulger's parents could and should have been much more closely involved in this whole process.

Our hearts go out to Denise Fergus and to Ralph Bulger.

We now want to see a change in the law so that people like them can be more closely involved in parole hearings, as happens in so many parts of America.

'Real healing'

That brings benefits not only for the relatives of victims, but for those who have committed the crimes.

It gives real healing a real chance. That has not happened in this case.

Now we have to accept Thompson and Venables are free and it is time for calm reflection from everyone.

Liverpool Echo editor Mark Dickinson
Mr Dickinson said it was now time for calm reflection
We have to trust that the Parole Board have got it right - that they pose no risk to society and can be rehabilated eight years after this dreadfully shocking crime.

We have to start thinking about how we now reach a resolution.

But the fear is that this early release will leave a weeping sore which may never heal.

That would not be a fitting monument in James' memory. He deserves better than that. As do his parents.

But we are where we are. And we must all reach into our hearts to reach a point where we agree to disagree. And move on.

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