James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables was properly supervised and he alone was responsible for his further offence of collecting child pornography, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said.
But a review of his supervision found “a number of potential opportunities that might have opened up had circumstances been different and that might have made the further offences less likely”, Mr Clarke said.
He added that “learning points for the future management of this and any similar cases” had been identified.
Mr Clarke said: “Sir David has concluded that Jon Venables was properly supervised at an appropriate level with suitable frequency of contact, having regard to particular circumstances in this case.
“Sir David also concluded that Venables alone is responsible for his further offence and it could not have been prevented or predicted by any reasonable supervision.
“The review identifies a number of potential opportunities that might have opened up had circumstances been different and that might have made the further offences less likely, although Sir David is clear that this is a matter of judgment.”
Probation officers were cleared of any major errors in the supervision of 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 found he could have been given more therapy and more help to enhance his employment prospects after being released from jail with a new identity.
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 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.