Where are Robert Thompson and Jon Venables?

In 1993, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson kidnapped and murdered two-year-old James Bulger in a hideous crime that sickened the nation – but where are James Bulger’s killers now?

And have you ever admitted your guilt?

Here’s everything you need to know before the C5 documentary Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger.


James Bulger’s killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in their school photos (Image credit: YouTube / Real Stories)

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What happened to James Bulger?

The toddler James Bulger disappeared on February 12, 1993.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both 10, murdered him in cold blood.

Grainy CCTV footage shows them leading James away from the Strand Shopping Center in Liverpool.

The nation was appalled that two children had killed another innocent child.

Jon and Robert tortured and killed two year old James in one of the worst crimes in history.

Police found James’ mutilated body on a railroad on Valentine’s Day.

James Bulger’s murderer: who are they?

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson murdered James Bulger.

The manner in which he died is far too disturbing to be described here.

First, the friends skipped school and grabbed James when his mother was paying in a shop.

Eyewitness reports and CCTV recordings later led the police to the killers.

A jury found her guilty on November 24, 1993.

The judge, Mr Justice Morland, recommended a minimum of eight years’ imprisonment.

Eventually they went free in 2001, with new identities and lifelong anonymity.

The terrifying CCTV footage of James Bulger going to his death
The terrifying CCTV footage of James Bulger going to his death (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

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Where’s James Bulger Killer Jon Venables Now? How old is he?

Jon Venables, now 39, is protected by lifelong anonymity.

He served eight years in juvenile detention for the murder of James Bulger and was released under license in 2001.

The police arrested him in September 2008 on suspicion of the affair after a drunken fight and formally warned him.

Police officers warned him about possession of cocaine later that year.

Jon Venables returned to prison in February 2010 after violating the terms of his release.

The police accused him of downloading and distributing images of child abuse.

A judge sentenced him to two years in prison in July 2010 for downloading and distributing indecent pictures of children.

He was released on parole in August 2013.

He returned to prison in November 2017 for owning more than 1,000 indecent pictures of children.

A judge detained Jon for 40 months in February 2018 for owning more than 1,000 indecent pictures of children.

He then remained in prison, where he served three years and four months in prison.

His probation attempt in September 2020 was rejected and he cannot apply again for two years.

Inmates reportedly discovered Jon’s identity and attacked him in prison.

He reportedly asked for cosmetic surgery to change his appearance.

A school photo of Robert Thompson, one of the boys who killed James Bulger (Photo Credit: News International / Shutter)
A school photo of Robert Thompson, one of the boys who killed James Bulger (Photo Credit: News International / Shutter)

Where is James Bulger’s killer Robert Thompson now? How old is he?

Robert, then 18 years old, was released under license from an institution for juvenile offenders in 2001.

He hasn’t insulted again since then.

A worldwide arrangement protects his identity.

Robert Thompson was reported to be in a stable relationship in 2006 and settled well in his Northwest community.

He is believed to have a long-term relationship with a man who knows his true identity.

Robert, 38, is believed to have changed his life at the Barton Moss safe unit in Eccles, Lancs.

He passed five GCSEs and graduated from high school.

Did James Bulger’s killers ever admit their guilt?

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson denied charges of murder, kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping of another boy on the same day.

The boys did not speak during the trial.

The case against them was based on recorded police interviews with the boys.

DNA and forensic evidence linked them to the murder, as well as testimony.

Robert Thompson reportedly asked police if the two-year-old had been hospitalized to “bring him back to life”.

Denise kisses her young son James (Image Credit: Denise Bulger / ITN Productions)
Denise kisses her young son James (Image Credit: Denise Bulger / ITN Productions)

Will James Bulger’s killers ever be identified?

Lifelong anonymity protects Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

James Bulger’s father, Ralph, had previously started a case against the order in the High Court.

Ralph’s attorney told a court on May 2, 2018 that the original injunction granted to Jon Venables was based on the fact that he was being rehabilitated and not insulted again.

Denise Fergus, James’ mother, does not support the process.

She believes that her son’s killer should keep his anonymity to avoid vigilante justice.

A judge therefore ruled that his anonymity would protect him on March 4, 2019 from “severe violence”.

Lost Boy: The Assassination of James Bulger on Channel 5

This two-part documentary, which ends tomorrow, tells James’ story about the people who knew him.

His mother, Denise Bulger, and brothers Michael, Tom, and Leon all discuss his disappearance as they remember and how they coped with his death.

Other contributors include police officers involved in the case and reporters who covered it.

Viewers will hear a definitive story of the case and forensically examine in detail what happened on that tragic day.

Lost Boy: The James Bulger assassination begins Wednesday, March 10th at 9 p.m. on Channel 5 and ends the next day.

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