UK to charge web users over killers' pics

2013-02-26 08:29
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London - Britain's top lawyer launched contempt proceedings on Monday against internet users who circulated photographs purporting to be of the notorious killers of 2-year-old James Bulger.

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson have not been seen in public since they were jailed for the sadistic 1993 murder of the toddler, which they carried out when they were just 10 years old.

Such was the public outrage at the killing that when the pair were released on parole in 2001, they were given secret new identities for their own safety, protected by a court order.

However photographs have appeared online in recent days purporting to show Venables and Thompson as they are now, aged 30.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned that these images, whether or not they are pictures of the two killers, constituted an offence punishable by a fine or jail.

Indecent images

"The attorney general has today decided to institute contempt proceedings against a number of individuals who have been identified as having posted online photographs purporting to be of Jon Venables or Robert Thompson," his office said in a statement.

It is thought to the first time such an action has been brought against users of social media.

Grieve's office said the anonymity order was intended "to protect not only Venables and Thompson but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being one of the two men".

Venables and Thompson snatched Bulger from a shopping centre in Liverpool, northwest England, and took him to a nearby train track where they beat him with bricks and an iron bar and left him for dead.

They were both jailed for life but released on licence in 2001. In July 2010, Venables was sent back to prison for downloading and distributing indecent images of children, although his new identity was never released.
- SAPA
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