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The BBC's Caroline Thomsett
"Denise Bulger remains adament the punishment must fit the crime"
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Paul Cavadino, dir. of crime reduction charity NACRO
"There will be a great deal of control over their movements and whereabouts"
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Sunday, 24 June, 2001, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Bulger killers 'face dangers'
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Venables and Thompson are said to fear for their lives
The home secretary has acknowledged that the killers of Liverpool toddler James Bulger could face real danger from vigilante attacks.

David Blunkett urged restraint amid growing fears for the safety of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.

James Bulger's father Ralph also called for calm as a heated atmosphere appeared to be developing.

Speaking through his solicitor, Mr Bulger said: "I think the time has really come for there to be restraint and for matters to fade away to allow everybody some time to reflect and allow what has been set up to take effect."


We're not in the mid-west in the mid-19th Century

Home Secretary David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett said he understood people had strong feelings about the release of the boys after eight years.

"But there's nothing can bring Jamie back and we have now to address ourselves to the future," he said.

"I think we all need to take a deep breath and to view what is said and done as we would view it if it were taking place in any other country.

"We're not in the mid-west in the mid-19th Century, we're in Britain in the 21st Century and we'll deal with things effectively and we'll deal with things in a civilised manner."

Mr Blunkett warned against the heated atmosphere which appeared to be developing in the media about the case.

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

Home Secretary David Blunkett
David Blunkett: Warns against emotional adrenaline
Mr Blunkett said: "I think if people continue to provide the emotional adrenaline for others who are sick of mind to go and [attack the boys] then there will be a danger.

"The greatest safeguard we can offer to people in the community is to rehabilitate Thompson and Venables effectively."

The Attorney General is still considering whether to prosecute the Manchester Evening News after it published information on the whereabouts of Thompson and Venables.

That may have broken a strict injunction on the publishing of any material which could lead to the boys being identified.


Though we will not breach the injunction, we will monitor this evil pair closely

News of the World editorial
Other papers have said they will comply with the ruling - some reluctantly.

The News of the World warned on Sunday: "Though we will not breach the injunction, we will monitor this evil pair closely.

"And at the very first hint of a breach for their parole licences, we shall do everything legally possible to tell you, our readers, exactly what is going on."

'Killer in tears'

The Mail on Sunday reported that 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.

James Bulger
James Bulger was battered to death on a railway line
Liberal Democrats leader Charles Kennedy said the press should not be party to vigilante behaviour.

"It is very difficult to identify with the depth of emotion. Trying to be rational about it, that young boy's life is gone. Two other lives are still with us," he told Sky News.

"Surely the best outcome is you make the most of the two lives that are available to you. Can that create happiness for the other lives that have been wrecked? Answer - probably not."

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

Secret identities

The Parole Board announced on Friday that the pair, now both 18, should go free after spending eight years in secure accommodation.

There has been intense media and public interest in the case, and much anger at the news of their release.

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

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

The anonymity ruling applies only to England and Wales - not Scotland, not the foreign press and not much of the internet.

Some international newspapers and magazines have already expressed interest in publishing new photographs of the pair, lawyers warn.

There are fears that a "jigsaw" of details will build up, allowing anyone hunting the boys to build a picture of where they are.

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