Jon Venables : The Debate

Over the past week or so, there’s been no escaping the reports that child killer Jon Venables has been sent back to prison for an unknown offence, and after rather lengthy debates here in the FemaleFirst office, we’d like to get to know your thoughts.

The situation is this, we’re discussing whether or not Venables’ new identity should be revealed to the public, whether or not we deserve to know why he’s back behind bars, and finally, whether he should have ever been let out of prison in the first place.

After he and Robert Thompson were convicted of the horrific murder of Jamie Bulger back in 1993 they were sent to a child’s prison where they served 10 years before being handed new identities and set free back into society.

Now, a lot of people were outraged that they were free to live happy lives without ever serving a day in adult prison and with minimal risk of ever having their past come back to haunt them, but at the same time, couldn’t it be argued that they had served their time and should be allowed to get on with their lives now?

What’s more, what would the ‘unveiling’ of the boys new identities do to serve the public except fire up some vigilantes looking for blood? Had we identified these two men, they would have probably been dead within a week… but at the same time, would it have stopped Jon Venables latest crime?

The main problem here has to be, who assessed the boys in the first place and said they were mentally safe to leave prison? Surely in the weeks and months leading up to their release someone should have assessed their mental state and decided whether or not they would pose a threat to the community? If we’re going to point the finger today, shouldn’t it have been at the medical professional who ultimately sanctioned letting him out to reoffend?

So, whilst some may argue that we should be told what Jon Venables has done this time as it is in the public interest, what good would that do us as we don’t know what he looks like? You can no the crime but not the face, or the face but not the crime, without the two you could never get any kind of justice.

What’s more, if Jon Venables was exposed, he would never have a chance at a fair trial – despite the fact that all previous criminal convictions should play no part in ANY trial – and to be honest with you, anyone standing trial in the next few months who could even be suspected of being Venables  would probably be subjected to a one-sided almost unwinnable battle.

I know we could argue that this is everything he deserves (and much more) after all he did to little Jamie, but at the same time, don’t we have a justice system in place for a reason? If we go by the rules of ‘an eye for an eye’ we would live in a society run by vigilantes.

In all, we know that Venables has been recalled to prison on suspicion that he has broken the terms of his licence, and that he may be prosecuted for an undisclosed offence, but regardless of his past, this procedure must be allowed to be followed through correctly without the danger that press speculation will lead to an unfair trial, a mistrial or at worse no trial at all.

Jack Straw is correct in saying that justice will be served only if Venables is given a proper trial for any new crime, and not effectively retried for a crime he previously committed and has already served a sentence for.

But as the people what do you make of it all, should we expose Venebles’ new identity or would he be dead within 24 hours? Do we have any right to know the details of his latest crime, or would it just lead to anyone on trial for similar offences being ‘identified’ as Jon Venables? And finally, should he have ever been let out of prison in the first place?

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your constructive options with me…

Originally posted by me on

  1. The aspects that worry me are the personality commentators understandably outraged by Venables history quoting his recent “alleged” and as yet unsubstantiated current misdeeds as fact and expecting the rest of us to agree to his identity being revealed. Awfully, Denise Fergus(on) is being blatantly exploited by all media outlets with the abandon formerly afforded to Moors Murder Victim’s Mother Winnie Johnson. When the story stops and the media move on she will be dropped and left to deal with the problems the tabloid media have shamefully stirred up in the name of viewers and circulation [sorry public interest]. It would be hoped that Max Clifford is able to help manage this situation emotionally as well as financially

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