Killer of British toddler James Bulger charged over child abuse images

A police custody photo of Jon Venables in 1993.
A police custody photo of Jon Venables in 1993.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - One of Britain's most notorious killers, who in 1993 murdered two-year-old James Bulger when he was only 10 himself, has been charged over indecent images of children, state prosecutors said on Friday (Jan 5).

Jon Venables was released in 2001 with a new identity after serving eight years in prison for the torture and murder of the toddler in the north-west English city of Liverpool.

He was returned to prison in November after allegedly being caught with child abuse images, and will now face trial in private at an unnamed court.

"The man formerly known as Jon Venables has been charged with offences relating to indecent images of children and will appear in the Crown Court," the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement.

"In order that justice can be done, no further details are being released at this stage and the proceedings are subject to reporting restrictions."

In a case that shocked the country, Venables and his friend, Robert Thompson, who was also 10 years old at the time, abducted Bulger from a shopping centre.

Bulger's mutilated body was found on a nearby railway line.

The pair were granted lifelong anonymity upon their release from jail in 2001, for fear of reprisals.

Anyone who identifies them could face up to two years in jail.