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1993: A murder that shocked the nation

On 14 February 1993, police confirmed a body found on a Merseyside railway embankment was that of missing two-year-old James Bulger.

The toddler had disappeared two days previously from the Strand Shopping Centre, Bootle, during a shopping trip with his mother.

Two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were convicted of his murder in November 1993. They were released in 2001 and now live under protected identities

The horrifying nature of James' death - and the fact the murderers were children themselves - shocked the community and the nation.

Your email memories below were received about the time of the 10th anniversary of James Bulger's disappearance in 2003.

I remember being horrified at the time, but now I am a mother myself to a 9 month old boy, I am shocked at how badly this tragedy still affects me. I just cannot get out of my head what that poor boy must have gone through and what his parents will go through for the rest of their lives.
Sarah, England

What kind of society do we live in? Nothing seems to have changed in the last 10 years, its still not safe for our children whatever their age.
Carolyn Kerr, Scotland

Even 10 years on the murder of little James horrifies me. The awful CCTV images of him being lead to his death will haunt me forever and I still cannot bear to think about what he must have gone through in the last minutes of his life.
Bill, UK


" I probably have become over-protective towards both my children "

Julie Jenkins, UK

I gave birth to my son the day before James was taken, I just remember cuddling him and praying that James would be found safe and well. I couldn't understand how anyone could hurt such a lovely little lad and I still don't.

It still makes me overwhelmingly sad to think about him and I probably have become over-protective towards both my children.
Julie Jenkins, UK

I don't think any story had so much impact for me as the murder of James Bulger. Pregnant with my son at the time, I could only watch in horror as the story unfolded.

When the CCTV footage was released, people everywhere were aghast with shock that two boys had abducted him. In the way that terrible tragedy does, I think it brought parents closer together and we not only became more watchful of our own children but also of others.

Not long afterwards, various stores were selling out of wrist link bands (a link tied from parent to toddler) in an effort to prevent another terrible occurence.
Katy, UK

I remember this horrific time so well. I was 13 and I had a two-year-old neighbour who I was very close to. I just couldn't see how anyone could hurt a child.

All I wanted to do at this age was care for children and it was so shocking to me, it took me a long time to come to terms with it all, to comprehend that children could be so cruel.

Even now reading about it all again brings back tears, so sad. James was a beautiful little boy and all I can say is at least he is in a better place now.

I live in the US now but I will always remember the little boy who touched all our hearts 10 years ago. He will never be forgotten.
Fiona, US


" It still horrifies me today as much as it did then "

Dave Hawkins, England

My thoughts are still with James' family. It still horrifies me today as much as it did then.

How an earth could two ten-year-old boys do something so horrific is beyond me. I will always remember the haunting picture of James that was on the news.
Dave Hawkins, England

I was 11-years-old at the time this happened, now 10 years on it still horrifies me as much as it did then. Being only a year older than the killers I strongly disagree that they did not know what they were doing at the time.
Laura, UK

I was 10 at the time of the Bulger murder. The one thing that sticks in my mind, was that when those boys were caught there was a big debate as to whether they were old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Being 10 myself I knew it was wrong. A terrible tragedy, and I am very sad that the boys have already been released.
Polly, England

I - like the rest of the country - had been hoping James Bulger would be found safe. At that time I had been a Special Constable for four years and was contemplating quitting. It made me think again and, 10 years on, I am still a Special.

During the past 10 years I have helped many people who have been injured or needed assistance and will continue to do so for as long as I can. My thoughts are with James' family.
Ian, England


" We are still grieving for beautiful young James "

Paul Duffy, Liverpool

In a world which seems that we are less and less likely to be shocked by its horrors, the age of the perpetrators and the sheer brutality of this case still make shivers run down my spine.

I find it equally chilling that our justice system sees it fit for them to be released (having paid their debt) after only eight years.
Simon Ellis, US ex-UK

Just a few words to say the whole city of Liverpool is still right behind the Bulger family. I/We are still grieving for beautiful young James.
Paul Duffy, Liverpool

I'll never forget watching all the coverage of James going missing and when they found him. I was so shocked and horrified when they announced that it was two young boys who had murdered him. Personally, I think Thompson and Venables should still remain behind bars.

I watched the coverage shown when they were interviewed by police. They knew what they were doing and I could not see any remorse being shown. I just hope that James Bulger's parents and family can get on with their lives as best they can.
Mary, US (from Ireland)


" My son was the same age and I think I became overly protective. "

Mary Anne Kloss, US

To this day, it still haunts me. I think I went into shock for a few months back in 1993. My son was the same age and I think I became overly protective.

The worst part was expecting it to be some sick and depraved adult and to find out it was children who did this made me disgusted and even angrier.
Mary Anne Kloss, US

It is a news story that never leaves my mind.

As the mother of a two-year-old boy I can't even imagine the trauma and despair Jamie's parents feel at losing their beautiful son in such a horrific way.Why would anyone do such a thing to an innocent boy?
Annette

We are doing a school project about baby James's murder. We are very sorry this pain his parents and other family members has to go through.

I was a little girl in 1993, so it is the first time I have heard about this terrible and scary story. We are very sorry.
Nadia, Denmark The Jamie Bulger murder was one of the first high profile child murders that I remember. I was only six years old at the time, but I have never forgotten it and never will. The reason it has stuck in my mind so clearly after all this time is because the killers were children themselves.

Jamie Bulger's killers served their sentences in secure accommodation where they had access to many privileges that had not been available to them before they were arrested. The judge who heard the facts of the case and handed out their sentences ordered that they should be held in custody for 'very, very many years to come'. I was expecting them to serve around 15 years, as younger offenders always receive more lenient sentences than adults.
Alex Wilkes, England

Other memories
I had a two-year-old boy and a one year old boy at the time of this hideous event. When I heard that James's little body had been found on the railway track I was in disbelief.

It is impossible to keep tabs of small children 100% of the time and we should all look out for each other. My children are 12 and 13 now and I feel so lucky they are here with me.

My deepest sympathy goes out to James family today.
Jennifer Slade, UK, (2005)

I remember being in the 7th grade and seeing this on TV and what a wonderful effect it had on my perception of the media.

What I remember most vividly about this is watching some guy rush a police barricade to punch the side of one of the police vans carrying one of the two boys. I have no idea why the guy did this, I mean punching the side of a van is kind of stupid, don't you think?

Anyways, it demonstrated the utter depravity of British society, deciding to focus all that rage on two 10-year-old boys rather than look into where these two kids may have got the idea in the first place.
Sage, Canada, (2005)


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