The brothers of murdered toddler James Bulger have spoken on TV for the first time about how his horrific death has affected their family.
On February 12, 1993, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who were both 10, tortured and killed the two-year-old after abducting him from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool.
James’ mutilated body was found on railway tracks and the graphic nature of the crime committed by such young boys horrified the nation.
The toddler’s brothers were not born when he was murdered, but have always been brought up to remember him as their elder brother.
In new Channel 5 documentary Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger, his siblings speak for the first time about the impact the tragic death has had on their family.
James’ mum Denise Fergus was pregnant with his little brother Michael at the time of his murder.
Michael, now 27, says in the documentary: “I wasn’t allowed to go to the shops with my mates, the only place I was allowed was in the front garden or literally right outside the gate which was in view of the window.”
He adds that a spare seat is left in James’ memory at the table at Christmas.
“He’s never not been part of the family,” he says. “We have a spare chair around the Christmas table. It’s always been empty.
“Me mum likes to see James as—not sitting there but being in there in presence with us, obviously while we’re having Christmas dinner.”
James’ half brothers Leon, 21, and Thomas, 22, also speak about how their childhood was affected following the devastating incident.
“It still is weird seeing news about James on the television today and it always will be,” Thomas says.
“He should have been here with us. We shouldn’t looking at him on the news about a kid being murdered rather than being sat next to us.”
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Leon says: “Growing up, if we were walking around a shop, she’d always make sure she was at the back so she can walk us forward in front of her. She wanted to know where we were at all times.”
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were jailed for eight years for the murder in 1993.
They were freed in 2001 and given lifelong anonymity with new identities. Venables was sent back to prison in 2010 for breaching the terms of his licence and for a second time in 2017 after being found with child abuse images on his computer.
Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger airs on Channel 5 tonight (March 10) and tomorrow at 9pm
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