Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Straw hints at details of Bulger killer Venables recall

Police handout in 1993 of Jon Venables
Jon Venables served eight years for murdering James Bulger

Details of why one of James Bulger's killers has been recalled to prison may be released later, the justice secretary has said.

Jack Straw told BBC's Today programme that he was on the "horns of a dilemma" over whether to divulge allegations against 27-year-old Jon Venables.

James' mother, Denise Fergus told ITV she was "prepared to wait" for details of how Venables breached his licence.

"I do not want to prejudice a trial but I have the right to know," she said.

Mrs Fergus is preparing to meet Jack Straw in the next couple of days and has prepared a list of questions.

Denise Fergus was speaking on This Morning, ITV1

She told ITV's This Morning: "I want to know why he, I can't even bring myself to say his name, has been recalled to prison.

"If he (Mr Straw) can't tell me now, then I want to know after any criminal proceedings against him have finished.

"I can't eat again. I have pulled my kids out of school. It has brought it all flooding back."

The Sunday Mirror has alleged Venables was recalled to prison on suspicion of offences related to images of child abuse.

Venables and James's other killer Robert Thompson were given new identities on their release from life sentences.

Mr Straw admitted that the details behind Venables being returned to prison were in the public interest, but said there was a risk of prejudicing any further criminal proceedings.

James Bulger
James Bulger was abducted from a shopping centre in Bootle

He said: "This case is very unusual with its extensive notoriety - many other situations where information is disclosed do not have the same implications there are here.

"The judgement I have made - I have received very clear advice from people directly involved in the investigation - it could be prejudicial, and in my view better to be cautious about what was disclosed.

"I fully understand why we have received a barrage of criticism that we should have said more."

He would not be drawn on exactly what Venables is alleged to have done, only to say his stance on silence may change due to many details being in the "public domain".

Youngest murderers

Lyn Costello, from campaign group Mothers Against Murderers, told the BBC she was adamant that the details should be released. She said Venables should not be given the chance of having yet another identity.

"He had a good chance in life. He was given a second chance and he's blown it.

"We don't know what he's done and I think it's now time the government has to rethink their whole policy on keeping this a secret."

Mr Straw stressed that Venables was still not facing any charges and that a criminal investigation was still under way.

Venables and Thompson served eight years of their life terms for the murder of two-year-old James.

The boys became the UK's youngest murderers when as 10-year-olds they abducted James from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, and killed him.

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