Jon Venables, one of James Bulger’s killers, has been scheduled for a two-day parole hearing on November 14 and 15, according to the Parole Board. In 1993, at the age of 10, Venables and Robert Thompson abducted and killed two-year-old James Bulger after taking him from a shopping center in Bootle, Merseyside.
Although the murderers received life sentences, they were released on license with new identities in 2001. Venables, now 40, was returned to prison in 2010 and again in 2017 for possessing indecent images of children.
Originally, his release was slated for review by a parole panel in October 2022, but the hearing was postponed.
A spokesperson for the Parole Board confirmed that a hearing would take place in the following month.
The panel will meticulously evaluate an extensive array of evidence, including details of the initial crime and any indications of behavioral changes, the spokesperson noted. Parole Board decisions primarily focus on the potential risk a prisoner might pose to the public upon release and whether that risk can be effectively managed in the community.
The spokesperson explained that members thoroughly examine numerous pages of evidence and reports in preparation for an oral hearing. The hearing typically extends over a full day or more, during which time witnesses such as probation officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and officials supervising the offender in prison, as well as victim personal statements, provide their testimony.
The spokesperson emphasized, “Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”