Tina Malone admits 'Bulger killer photo' Facebook post

  • Published
Tina Malone leaves the High Court in London where she avoided jailImage source, Kirsty O"Connor/PA Wire
Image caption,
Tina Malone leaves the High Court in London where she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger killer Jon Venables

Actress Tina Malone has been given a suspended prison sentence after she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger's killer Jon Venables.

There is a global ban on publishing anything about the identity of Venables or his accomplice Robert Thompson.

Malone's barrister said the actress accepted she had breached the injunction by sharing a Facebook post.

The ex-Shameless star was given an eight-month suspended sentence.

She was also ordered to pay £10,000.

The 56-year-old, who also starred in Brookside, pleaded guilty to the charge of contempt of court earlier.

Malone told the court she had been living in Liverpool at the time of James's murder and knew his killers had been given anonymity when they were released.

Mental health problems

She shared the Facebook message in February last year, which was said to include an image and the new name of Venables, the High Court heard.

The court heard Malone initially said she had not been aware she had done anything wrong.

Her barrister, Adam Speker, said she had mental health problems at the time she shared the post and was caring for her five-year-old daughter and elderly mother.

He said his client understood Venables had been given anonymity for his protection but there were no characteristics of vigilantism in Ms Malone's case.

Image source, Merseyside Police
Image caption,
Jon Venables was 10 when he and Robert Thompson killed James Bulger

Venables and Thompson were 10 when they tortured and killed James after abducting the two-year-old from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993.

In November that year, they became the youngest children ever to be convicted of murder in England.

They have been living under new identities since they were released in 2001.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC said: "The injunction in this case is intended to both protect the identities of the offenders, but also innocent individuals who may be incorrectly identified as them.

"Posting this material online is a very serious matter and can result in a prison sentence."

In January, two people were given suspended sentences after admitting posting photos on social media they said identified Venables.

Richard McKeag, 28, was handed a 12-month sentence and Natalie Barker, 36, was given eight months, both suspended for two years.

Earlier this month, the father of James Bulger lost a legal challenge to try to change the lifelong anonymity order.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.