The father and uncle of murdered toddler James Bulger have lost a High Court bid to have information about killer Jon Venables made public.
James’s father and paternal uncle, Ralph and Jimmy Bulger, had challenged a worldwide ban, made in 2001, on revealing the murderer’s identity.
Venables’ lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the High Court that he is at risk of being attacked and even killed should his current identity be made public.
Two-year-old James was murdered by Venables and Robert Thompson, both 10, after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993.
Ralph Bulger has lost a bid to make public details of his son’s killer’s new identity
Venables, now 36, has been living anonymously under a new identity since his release from prison but was convicted of having child abuse images in 2010 and again in 2018.
He remains in jail after receiving a sentence of three years and four months in February 2018 for possessing the images.
Robin Makin, acting on behalf of the Bulgers, argued that personal details and photos of Venables as an adult have been accessible by a cursory internet search for years, but the killer has suffered no damage or targeted threats as a result.
Mr Makin claimed that authorities are using the anonymity order to avoid scrutiny for failing to keep Venables from re-offending following his release from prison.
Venables, pictured in 1993, was granted lifelong anonymity by a High Court judge and has lived under new identities since his initial release from custody
The idea behind the lifetime anonymity order for Venables and Thompson, made by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, was that it would aid the rehabilitation of the killers, who were just ten when they murdered the toddler.
But while Thompson has not re-offended, Venables has twice been convicted of child abuse image offences.
James’ mother, Denise Fergus, is not involved in the case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.