Back in 1993, the world watched with shock and horror to the Merseyside near Liverpool and Manchester where two-year-old Jamie Bulger was led to an abandoned train track only to be tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, named Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.
Given their young age, the UK judge who convicted the boys issued a worldwide court order in 2001 granting them a new identity and forbidding the press to print their pictures when they were released again from prison, hoping they would forever remain in obscurity.
But just last month, Mr Jon Venables, now 35 years old and with a new identity, was sent back to prison after it was found that he possessed thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.
This was not the first time for him in fact. Venables has been sent back to prison twice since his release in 2001, each time for the possession of child porn.
But now a Facebook post, which was also shared on Twitter, circulated soon after showing a photo of a dark-haired man that was claimed to be the notorious killer.
That particular social media post, dated November 24th was since then shared 121,000 times, had 2600 reactions and thousands of comments (despite the global ban on publishing anything revealing the pair’s current identities still being in place).
A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s office confirmed: “We have received a complaint that the anonymity order has been breached and we are investigating it.”
Jamie Bulger’s father reacted with astonishment to the news that his son’s killer has been sent back to prison. “Why has Venables still got the privilege of a secret identity?”
“He was given anonymity back when they were 10 because the authorities were convinced they could rehabilitate him. We know now that failed and so when Venables reoffended he should not only have been recalled to prison for life but stripped of his hidden identity. What’s really damaging is that when Venables now commits crimes against children he is a grown 35-year-old man and all we see is a photograph of him as a young boy of 10.“
Back in 2013, two other individuals who have posted images they claimed to be of Venables and Thompson were immediately given nine-month suspended sentences. Breaking the UK’s legal injunction carries a punishment of up to two years in prison.