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The BBC's Paul Anstiss
"Any ideas of sending them abroad to Australia or New Zealand have been ruled out by those countries"
 real 56k

The BBC's Nick Higham
"The injunction does not apply for foreign media or much of the internet"
 real 56k

Home Secretary David Blunkett
"The greatest safeguard we can offer to the community is to rehabilitate Thompson and Venables effectively"
 real 56k

Paul Cavadino, dir. of crime reduction charity NACRO
"There will be a great deal of control over their movements and whereabouts"
 real 56k

Sunday, 24 June, 2001, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Mother fears for Bulger killer's safety
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson are now 18
The mother of one of James Bulger's killers says she fears her son will be killed by vigilantes.

Susan Venables, the mother of Jon, told the News of the World she believes her son could be murdered within four weeks.


Our concern is for the safety of the public and the safety of these young men. That is as far as it goes

David Blunkett

The newspaper said it has decided reluctantly to obey a court injunction which bans newspapers from printing any information that might lead to the identification of Robert Thompson or Venables, both now aged 18.

But there are growing fears that it is unrealistic to expect that the pair's new identities will remain secret.

The Mail on Sunday reports that the Venables and Thompson themselves do not want to be released because of fears for their safety.

It says one of the killers broke down in tears before his Parole Board hearing last week.

No luxury

Meanwhile Home Secretary David Blunkett has insisted it was "simply not true" millions of pounds of public money were being spent on rehabilitating Venables and Thompson.

"We are going to spend the minimum necessary to equip them to fend for themselves. There will be no houses, cars or credit cards," he told the Sunday Mirror.

The Attorney General is still considering whether to prosecute a local newspaper for a possible breach of the injunction.

James Bulger
James Bulger was battered to death on a railway line
The Manchester Evening News published information on the whereabouts of Thompson and Venables.

The details were given hours after the Parole Board ruled the two teenagers could be released from secure accommodation.

The Attorney General's preliminary decision on the matter could be announced as early as Monday.

Under the Contempt of Court Act, if proceedings go ahead the newspaper could face an unlimited fine and its editor could be jailed.

Merseyside support

But there is support for the Manchester Evening News on Merseyside where James' mother Denise joined a small demonstration by truck-drivers on Saturday.

Police said five trucks festooned with protest banners passed by the cemetery where the murdered toddler is buried before heading for Liverpool city centre.

Venables and Thompson were only 10 when they abducted two-year-old James from a Liverpool shopping centre before torturing and killing him.

Denise Fergus
James' mother has demanded 24-hour protection
There has been intense media and public interest in the case, and much anger at the news of their release.

Many legal observers are seeing the Manchester Evening News case as a "test" of the authorities' determination to protect the boys.

The injunction applies only to England and Wales - it does not cover Scotland or the foreign press.

BBC correspondent Nick Thatcher said: "Anyone can publish these sorts of details about the whereabouts, about the identities of these two young men on the internet in another country.

"They could be identified and recognised here by people viewing the internet in this country."

Venables and Thompson, who have spent eight years in custody, are being released on life licences.


No matter where they are, someone out there is waiting. There will be no stone unturned

Denise Fergus' statement
This means they will be under close observation by probation officers and subject to recall to prison in the event of wrongdoing.

They will be given new identities, and will not be able to return to Merseyside without permission from the authorities.

But the desire for retribution in the local community is said to be running high.

BBC Radio Merseyside received a call on Friday night suggesting "terrible things should be done".

And James's mother, Denise Fergus, said the murderers should not think they would remain anonymous indefinitely.

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