Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 14:20 UK

'Months' before decision on Venables release

Police handout in 1993 of Jon Venables
Jon Venables was detained for eight years for the murder of James Bulger

A decision on whether Jon Venables should be released from prison following his recall will take "months", the Parole Board has said.

Venables and Robert Thompson were convicted of the murder of toddler James Bulger on Merseyside in 1993. They were released on licence in 2001.

Venables was recalled to prison last month over alleged serious offences. A police investigation is continuing.

The Parole Board confirmed it had received papers relating to the recall.

The board's proceedings are separate from the police investigation which is ongoing.

The Parole Board said in a statement that the case of Venables had been referred to it by the Ministry of Justice.

Reviewing process

"The Parole Board will now start the process of reviewing this case in the normal way. We are not able to set a timescale on the review, but will confirm when it has been concluded," it said.

Venables and Thompson abducted two-year-old James in a shopping centre in Bootle and killed him on a railway line on 13 February 1993.

The pair, who were both 10 years old at the time of the murder, were convicted in November 1993 and released on licence with new, secret identities in 2001.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has refused to give details on the offences Venables is alleged to have committed on licence, except to say they were "extremely serious allegations".

On Wednesday, he said that if Venables faces charges over the allegations, his trial would not be held in secret.



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