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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Bulger mother's tortured life
Denise Fergus
Denise Fergus fears for hers and her family's safety
The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has told of her tortured life since learning of the imminent release of her son's killers.

An angry Denise Fergus said she had been unable to eat or sleep properly since discovering Robert Thompson and Jon Venables will soon be free, following last week's Parole Board hearings.

She said she had been living on a diet of "coffee and cigarettes".

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mrs Fergus said her deep fear of James's killers had been reinforced since last Friday's ruling.

She said: "The last few days I've just felt betrayed and numb.

The last few days I've just felt betrayed and numb

Denise Fergus

"I need to know where Thompson and Venables are because, though it's been said that they are not allowed to come back to Merseyside, I am absolutely sure they will.

"Before they were let out I knew where they were and I felt safe, but now I don't know where they are living.

"I think I'm in danger because they know how hard I fought to keep them locked up.

"I am not going to hunt them down and I am not going to try and kill them.

"But I'm urging people to look out for an 18-year-old moving into the area.

'I know they'll kill again'

"If it's Thompson or Venables, I'd say 'do what you can to get them out because they're still dangerous'.

"I know they'll kill again."

Her former husband and James's father, Ralph Bulger has appealed for calm in the light of their pending release.

Speaking to the The Mirror newspaper, he called for "restraint" and "time to reflect" after the release of his son's killers.

Ralph Bulger
Ralph Bulger: Appeal for calm
He is concerned that innocent people could be caught up in any vigilante action to avenge his murdered son.

While making it clear that he despises Thompson and Venables, he said: "I would not want another innocent family to suffer what we have been through.

"The strength of feeling against these two is overwhelming and something that the Home Office and Parole Board have hugely underestimated.

"But as a parent myself, the last thing I want is for innocent young men to be attacked, or worse, if they are mistaken for the boys who killed James."

Retribution

The Parole Board announced last Friday that Thompson and Venables, now both 18, should go free after spending eight years in secure accommodation.

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

James Bulger
James Bulger was battered to death on a railway line
There are growing fears that it is unrealistic to expect the pair's new identities will remain secret.

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

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

Lawyers for the pair have warned that a "jigsaw" of details could build up, allowing anyone hunting the boys to work out where they were living.



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