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Mother of murdered James Bulger asks Irish filmmaker to withdraw film from Oscars

James Bulger was just two years old when he was abducted from a shopping centre.

Stuart and Denise Fergus on Claire Byrne Live last night.
Stuart and Denise Fergus on Claire Byrne Live last night.
Image: RTÉ

THE MOTHER OF murdered Liverpool child James Bulger has urged an Irish filmmaker who has been nominated for an Oscar to withdraw the film from the competition.

Speaking on Claire Byrne Live last night, Denise Fergus called for the short film to be boycotted and pulled from the Oscars nomination list because Irish director Vincent Lambe never sought her permission to portray her son. 

James Bulger was just two years old when he was abducted from a shopping centre in Liverpool by 10-year-old Jon Venables and his friend Robert Thompson, who tortured and murdered the boy on a railway line in 1993. 

The film Detainment shows police interviews with two 10-year-old boys who are under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler, and is based on interview transcripts and records in the Bulger investigation.

Denise Fergus said: “I have seen the trailer but I tried not seeing the child that was playing James, I didn’t want to see that but I seen it on the news one night.

“Just to see that, it just took me right back, it really did destroy me.

“It was like it was James but it wasn’t him. To get a child to play him without my permission, I just don’t know what he was thinking of.

“I would ask him to pull this film from the nomination because I don’t think it was right he done it in the first place.

“I don’t know what he wanted to gain from it to be quite honest.I can’t sit in front of him because he’s done it behind my back. I just wanted to know why [Vincent] didn’t inform us.”

“He had plenty of opportunities to do so. He said that he didn’t want us to know because we didn’t want the film to go ahead. That wasn’t the case at all.”

A statement from Vincent Lambe said it was never the film’s intention to bring about “further anguish” to the family. 

“The film was never intended to bring about any further anguish to the family of James Bulger and we never intended any disrespect by not consulting them.

“As we set out to make a fact-based film that was impartial, we did not attempt to contact any of the families involved but instead relied solely on transcripts and the factual material that has been public knowledge for 25 years.”

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