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Climate of hatred

This article is over 20 years, 10 months old
Issue 1754

Climate of hatred

THE RIGHT wing press are whipping up a climate of hatred against Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. They were jailed eight years ago for killing two year old James Bulger when they were ten. Thompson and Venables have a parole hearing this week, which could see them released from prison. But papers like the Daily Mail, Sun and News of the World say they should be locked up forever. “How Can We Know What They’ll Do Next?” was a headline in the Daily Express. “Bulger Killers To Get 1.5 Million Lives Of Luxury” claimed the News of the World.

Even Channel 4 news broadcast previously unpublished pictures of Thompson and Venables, making it easier for people to identify them. The press have painted Thompson and Venables as two purely evil people who will never change, develop or be rehabilitated.

Both of them were disturbed, with huge emotional and social problems. Victor Moss, the foreman of the jury which convicted them, said later, “We should have gone back into the court and said yes, we do have a verdict. Our verdict is that these young boys are in urgent need of social and psychiatric help.” Today Thompson and Venables are 19 years old. All serious reports show that they are now completely different people.

They both want to try and live an ordinary life when they are released. The press hysteria will make that impossible. It is creating an atmosphere of hatred and vengeance which will encourage vigilante gangs to seek out the boys and attack them.

Thompson and Venables should be allowed to get on with their lives, without media intrusion and free from fear of attack.

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