Robert Thompson and Jon Venables
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|“||Friday, February 12 1993. Two outwardly unremarkable ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, began their day playing truant and ended it running an errand for a local video shop. In between they abducted and killed the toddler James Bulger.||„|
|~ The Sleep of Reason: James Bulger Case by David James Smith|
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables (both born in August, 1982, but Jon was born on the 13th, and Robert was born ten days later) are two felons, known in British history as the youngest convicted criminals at the age of 10. They were responsible not only for truanting from school (in the process), but mainly, for kidnapping, torturing, and brutally murdering a 2-year old boy named James Bulger, inflicting so many injuries that it was impossible to determine which one was the fatal blow. Afterwards, they left his body on the train tracks, where it was run over and split in half by a train, hoping to cover up their murder as an accident.
They were found guilty on 24 November 1993, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern British history. They were sentenced to detention during Her Majesty's pleasure until a Parole Board decision in June 2001 recommended their release on a lifelong licence aged 18. In 2010, Venables was sent to prison for breaching the terms of his licence, and was released on parole again in 2013. In November 2017, Venables was again sent to prison for possessing child abuse images and pornographic images of children on his computer. While in jail, he was attacked by a fellow prisoner who broke his nose.
The Bulger case has prompted widespread debate on the issue of how to handle young offenders when they are sentenced or released from custody.