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Contempt action to be taken over photos of 'James Bulger's killers'

Individuals who posted material purporting to show the notorious Jon Venables and Robert Thompson face prosecution by the British government.

The identities and images of Venables and Thompson were only released after they were convicted of James Bulger's murder in 1993.
The identities and images of Venables and Thompson were only released after they were convicted of James Bulger's murder in 1993.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL in England and Wales is to take legal action against a number of people who posted pictures on the internet which purported to show the killers of Liverpool toddler James Bulger.

Photos claiming to show Jon Venables and Robert Thompson as they are now have been circulating on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter in recent days but the AG says he will now begin contempt proceedings against “a number of individuals” who have posted the pictures.

A worldwide injunction is in place which prevents the revealing of the new identities of the notorious child murderers and Dominic Grieve expressed concern that potentially innocent individuals may be wrongly identified as one of the two men and placed in danger.

Venables and Thompson were both aged 10 when they abducted and brutally murdered two-year-old James Bulger in north Liverpool 20 years ago. They were sentenced to detention until they reached adulthood.

They were released with new identities on life licences in 2001. In 2010, Venables was returned to prison for violating the terms of his parole after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

statement from the office of the Attorney General explained: “There is an injunction in place which prevents publication of any images or information purporting to identify anyone as Jon Venables or Robert Thompson.

“The terms of the order mean that if a picture claims to be of Venables or Thompson, even if it is not actually them, there will be a breach of the order.

“Providing details of the new identities of Venables and Thompson or their whereabouts is also prohibited – this order applies to material which is on the internet.”

The Guardian reports that Google, Facebook and Twitter will all be ordered to remove the photographs and says that legal experts have said the breach could result in a landmark mass contempt prosecution by the government.

Read: The 20th anniversary of the most shocking of crimes

More: James Bulger’s father: My son’s murder brought me to a very dark place

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Hugh O'Connell

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