UK

Full statement from James Bulger killer Jon Venables

  • 23 July 2010
  • From the section UK

Jon Venables, one of the killers of James Bulger, has been jailed for two years after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

His solicitor, John Gibson, issued this statement on his behalf.

"By pleading guilty to the charges today Jon Venables has accepted and acknowledged the wrong he has done and the harm he had caused.

"He is extremely remorseful and knows that he has badly let down those who have tried to help him since his release from custody.

"It is to his credit that Jon co-operated fully with the police investigation and admitted from the outset that he was responsible for downloading indecent images of children from well-known file-sharing sites.

"The investigation into the 2008 charges did not establish evidence of a connection between Jon Venables and the sending of images to another person until well into June 2010, and the decision to charge him was not made until 12th July.

"As soon as he was aware of the prosecution's intention to charge him with these offences, he made it known he would plead guilty.

'Crass and unthinking'

"Both sets of offences were committed in his home, alone, with his own computer, to which no-one else had access. The 2008 offences took the form of a hoax online conversation exchanging images obtained from file-sharing sites, which were then deleted.

"Jon Venables acknowledges that conduct, which came at a time when he was drinking to excess because of the pressures he was under, was crass and unthinking.

"It was not repeated: the very careful analysis of the computer he owned during 2009 and 2010 shows that, whilst he continued to obtain and view indecent images of children, he took no steps to show them to anyone else.

"He puts forward no excuse for his conduct.

"He is genuinely ashamed, but he has and continues to express remorse, and has come to an understanding of how children are harmed by those who have even a passing interest in such material, let alone by those who pass it on.

"Jon Venables began independent living in March 2002, at the age of 19, having spent almost half of his life in custody. The decision to release him was based on his acceptance of responsibility for, and understanding of what he had done, and that it would be with him for the rest of his life.

"He has said that every day since what took place in 1993 he has thought about how different life might have been for all those affected, who he appreciates have also had their own reasons for reflection.

'Puzzled and perplexed'

"His release involved a challenge, and one that has impacted upon him daily ever since. In the words of the pre-sentence report he had 'a legacy life' - a complete change of identity - 'He was trained by the police in counter-surveillance and has had to live and hold a lie for the rest of his life. There was little doubt that if his identity became compromised his life would be at risk'. A casual search of Facebook and the internet shows the very real risk to his life.

"It is to his credit that from leaving secure accommodation until his recall in February this year, Jon Venables has been continuously in work - being paid at around the minimum wage, and working unsocial hours throughout - and became part of a firm friendship group.

"He kept in contact with his family. But, throughout this time, as the pre-sentence report observes: 'One of the major impacts in his life has been the inability to share his huge secret... he feared he would always be alone'.

"He extends his apologies to those friends he has made over the last eight years, who at best will be puzzled and perplexed, and most likely hurt and angry at the realisation that their friend was not who he said he was, he hopes they can understand why he could not tell them the truth.

"He also wishes to apologise to his family, who despite their obvious and justified disappointment in him, he knows will support him in carrying on with the rest of his life.

"It is no excuse at all, but Jon Venables does say now, on reflection, that not knowing quite what the world he was released into was like, or how it worked, he perhaps didn't fully appreciate the extent to which the passage of time, by itself, would not blunt his frustrations and unhappiness.

"He says that he appreciates there was no blueprint available to him - or those offering him support - he felt like a canary down a mine.

"The return to prison was something of a relief when it came. He intends to learn lessons to help him face this challenge again.

"Jon Venables knows that there are real victims of these crimes. Insofar as he extends his sincere apologies to those children who have been exploited and abused. He accepts that only a prison sentence is justified, and that once his time is served his release is not, and cannot be, a formality or matter of routine.

"He is determined now, once and for all, to become the person he wishes to be so that when he is eventually released from prison, he will never go back."

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