James Bulger killer Jon Venables' secret identity 'cost taxpayers £65,000'

It has cost taxpayers more than £65,000 to keep child killer Jon Venables’ latest identity a secret, according to reports.

Lawyers for the man who murdered toddler James Bulger were paid £8,100 in legal aid this year, while government lawyers were reportedly paid close to £57,300.

The costs came as Venables, now 36, was fighting a legal challenge from James Bulger’s father, Ralph, which aimed to overturn his lifelong anonymity.

Ralph, 52, told The Sun he wanted the ban lifted to ‘protect the public’.

James, two, was killed by Venables and Robert Thompson, both then aged 10, after they snatched him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside.

They were both later granted lifelong anonymity and, following release, have lived under new identities.

In March, judge Sir Andrew McFarlane upheld the injunction, telling Mr Bulger the anonymity order was intended to protect Venables from ‘being put to death’.

The judge said: ‘(Venables) is “uniquely notorious” and there is a strong possibility, if not a probability, that if his identity were known he would be pursued resulting in grave and possibly fatal consequences.

‘This is, therefore, a wholly exceptional case and the evidence in 2019 is more than sufficient to sustain the conclusion that there continues to be a real risk of very substantial harm to (Venables).’

Anyone who breaches the wide-ranging injunction faces prosecution for contempt of court.

Speaking outside court after the ruling, solicitor advocate Robin Makin, for the Bulger family, said: ‘The authorities seem to be hell-bent on protecting JV regardless of the risk to others and this has been a primary driving force behind Ralph and Jimmy’s application.’

Venables has been living anonymously under a new identity since his release from prison for killing James but has since been twice convicted of having child abuse images in 2010 and again in 2018.

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