Shropshire Star comment: James Bulger killing still a stain on our society

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

The killing of James Bulger continues to strike a chord with the British public.

Jon Venables, left, and Robert Thompson, killed James Bulger

It remains one of the most heinous crimes in living memory.

That an innocent boy aged just two could be the victim of an horrific killing, in which he was led away, tortured and murdered, remains utterly despicable and impossible to understand.

The fact that his killers, however, were themselves just children, then aged 10, compounded matters.

The word ‘horrific’ is over-used, but in the case of child-killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, it applies.

Prior to their moment of utter, utter madness, the boys were considered unremarkable: they played truant and got into mischief and little else.

Nothing could have prepared James’ home city of Liverpool, nor indeed the UK, for what was to come.

The sheer brutality of their deeds remain incomprehensible.


Lest we forget, the defenceless tot was beaten, kicked and stamped upon before being gravely injured with an iron bar and laid across a train track.

He had so many different injuries that a pathologist was unable to accurately comment upon which blow was the fatal one.

The killers blamed one another, refusing to acknowledge or accept what they had done.

Their actions on that fatal day remain a stain on our society.


As a collective, we have a duty to protect and safeguard our children.

The violation of one so young by others who ought to have been incapable of such misdeeds was not just a crime against James Bulger and his family, it was a crime against our shared values and sense of right and wrong.

Much has changed since the murder of James Bulger.

Parents have become more vigilant, policing techniques have advanced and our understanding of sociopathy has increased.

And yet a simple question will never be answered: why did they do it?

Experts have commentated that all people are capable of wickedness.

But all these years on, it remains as shocking and frightening as it did when the body of poor James was dumped on a railway line.

No-one can escape from what happened.

Venables and Thompson are forever scarred while the trauma that the Bulger family continue to endure is truly unimaginable.

We can but hope that the Bulger family eventually finds some peace.


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