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The Times

You are in: Liverpool > History > Discover > The Times > Murder of James Bulger

James Bulger CCTV image

CCTV image of James Bulger adbuction

Murder of James Bulger

The 1993 murder of two year old James Bulger in Bootle led to an outpouring of public grief and shock. Watch and listen to reports from the time.

In February 1993 two year old James Bulger was abducted and murdered by two ten year old boys Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. James Bulger went missing while out shopping with his mother in Bootle’s Strand Shopping Centre on 12 February 1993.

Thompson and Venables led James Bulger away from the shopping centre while his mother was in a nearby butchers shop. The picture, captured on CCTV, of James Bulger being led away by hand was to become one of the most infamous images of the case.

After murdering James the boys left his body on a nearby railway line where it was discovered two days later.  The investigation was led by Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby. After their arrest and throughout the trail the boys were known only as Child A and Child B.

In November 1993 Thompson and Venables were convicted of the murder of James Bulger. The boys were named by the trail judge Mr Justice Morland and sentenced to secure youth accommodation with a recommendation that they serve at least eight years in jail. In June 2001 Thompson and Venables were released on life licence and given new, secret identities.

Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby

Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby

The details of the murder that emerged during the trail shocked many people and led to public outrage, particularly in Bootle and Liverpool.

After abducting James the boys had walked him for two and a half miles. They were seen by 38 people, some of whom challenged them, the boys claiming that they were looking after their younger brother or that James was lost and they were taking him to a local police station.

Since their release an injunction in England and Wales has banned reporting of Thompson and Venable’s new names and their whereabouts. Although the ban does not apply in Scotland, or other countries, and despite numerous rumours their identities have remained secret.

last updated: 01/04/2008 at 16:27
created: 04/12/2006

You are in: Liverpool > History > Discover > The Times > Murder of James Bulger



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