On February 12, 1993, a young child, James Bulger, was lost in every sense to his mother and family.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
On February 20 John Venables and Robert Thompson, both aged 10 at the time, were charged with the horrific murder of James, a toddler who was almost three-years-old.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, send chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if they were helping little James to find his mother but in truth they were leading him on a long, harrowing journey that would end in his death.
In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
The terrible details of how James was attacked, humiliated, made to suffer and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity but they do need noting.
As SkyNews reported in 2015, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance, especially for a child so young. According to Wikipedia it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face.
At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened.
Some just accepted the soon-to-be-killers version of events that James was their young brother and they were taking him home.
It highlights how we should never be afraid to challenge, interfere or call it what you will; your actions could save a life.
James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items from shops before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling.
The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone."
Both Venables and Thompson were released from prison some time ago. Both of the young killers served just eight years before they were released back into the community. Both were given new identities but Venables has struggled to meet the terms of his release.
Venables was first given a new identity when he and Thompson were sent to a young offenders' institution and a second new identity was created for him when he was released in 2001; he was given a third identity after he was sent back to jail in 2010 for possessing child abuse images.
The authorities ignored the pleas of James' mother Denise Fergus to keep Venables in prison this time and he was released in 2013.
Reports that under his new fake identity he was allowed to join dating sites angered campaigners and especially the parents of James.
Venables is out on licence which includes strict rules. His parole is a life-long sentence meaning if he breaks the rules he could be jailed once and for all.
Little is reported of Robert Thompson who also has a new life.
[Thoughts with the family at this sad anniversary - RIP James]
On this Day in History
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