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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Inquiry call after Bulger 'cover-up' fears
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Killers Robert Thompson (r) and Jon Venables
An inquiry into whether there was a cover-up by education officers responsible for the two boys who murdered James Bulger has been demanded.

The call came after it was alleged on Thursday that John Walker, a manager in Liverpool's education department, offered to write a report to "save our skins" after the killing.

The claim emerged during a sexual harassment tribunal brought by a city council social worker.

"The implication is that there was a cover-up and I want to know if that was the case," Liverpool's opposition leader Joe Anderson told BBC News Online.

James Bulger
James was killed in February 1993

"I am worried that we as the local authority did not give all of the information available to the people investigating the murder."

His fears were prompted by the tribunal which found on Thursday that a council officer who looked after Robert Thompson was sexually harassed by Mr Walker.

Susan Campbell was an educational welfare officer with Liverpool City Council and worked with Thompson from 1990 until after he was convicted of the murder.

Ten-year-old Thompson and accomplice Jon Venables murdered two-year-old James after abducting him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in February 1993.

They were convicted the same year and released on parole from detention, aged 18, in 2001.

'Save our skins'

Ms Campbell claimed Mr Walker told her the case could cause "a hell of a stink and we should keep ourselves covered".

The written ruling states: "Mr Walker did not deny this, but said the school involved had asked for a visit and that he had offered to prepare a report which could 'save our skins'.

Mr Anderson said he had written to Liverpool's current education director Colin Hilton demanding an investigation.

The tribunal found Ms Campbell had been the subject of sexual harassment because of comments made by Mr Walker.

The Bulger murder also caused her stress, the tribunal ruled.


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