Venables child porn review released

Venables child porn review released

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Jon Venables (pictured) was 10 when he and Robert Thompson murdered two-year-old James Bulger

Only 24-hour surveillance could have stopped James Bulger’s killer descending into lawlessness and amassing an extensive collection of child pornography, a review is expected to find.

Probation officers will be cleared of any major errors in the supervision of Jon Venables, 27, who was jailed for two years in July after he was caught with sick images of youngsters on his computer.

But the report will say that Venables – who murdered two-year-old James with Robert Thompson when they were just 10 – could have been given more therapy and more help to enhance his employment prospects after being released from jail with a new identity.

He was under supervision by a variety of authorities but built up a stash of indecent pictures. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, said: “Supervision of Jon Venables was extremely difficult because of his notoriety and the need for tight security.”

The results of the review, which will be announced by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, will show that only 24-hour surveillance could have stopped Venables.

“The only way that his drinking, his trips to Liverpool and his accumulation of child pornography could have been prevented would have been through 24-hour surveillance, which would have been extremely expensive and implausible,” Mr Fletcher said.

“There are a number of criticisms that are made with the benefit of hindsight. For example, he could have received more therapy and more could have been done to enhance his employment prospects.

“But the same criticism could be made of all people on probation’s books and there’s no guarantee that additional therapy would have been helpful. He was in full-time work and attempts were made to try to enhance his prospects. But because of the sensitive nature of the case, supervision was always going to be difficult.”

It was in February this year that Venables was arrested and recalled over child pornography allegations. Evidence later emerged that he had an “extensive history of searching for and downloading indecent images of children using the internet”.

James’s mother, Denise Fergus, condemned the two-year sentence as “simply not enough”. Mrs Fergus and her spokesman said they were “surprised and concerned” that Venables had not been recalled for breaching his licence.

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