Lawyers for Susan Venables, whose son Jon is one of the two killers of Jamie Bulger, have written to the Press Complaints Commission denying News of the World claims on 24 June that she thought her son would be dead within four weeks of his release from prison.
The lawyers, Bhatt Murray, said the article, headlined "Bulger killer dead in four weeks – Venables’ mum’s chilling prediction", was inaccurate and also complained the Venables’ family had been harassed by a photographer.
The letter to the PCC said the article attributed to Susan Venables the words, via a family friend: "She’s convinced Jon will be dead in four weeks"; that she "fears there is a long list of people who would willingly kill Jon and she does not believe that he can be sufficiently protected. His whereabouts will be known within days and he will be dead within weeks"; and that she believed that the only chance he had to survive was to be moved abroad and that will not happen.
"We are advised that there is absolutely no truth in these comments, and, had the paper been prepared to check their accuracy with this firm, they would have been so advised," Bhatt Murray told the PCC.
The solicitor went on to say: "An editorial in the paper asserted that the News of the World ‘will monitor this evil pair closely. Whether they are at college, with girlfriends, perhaps working with unwitting colleagues, we shall do all in our power to watch over them.’ "We can only anticipate that this practice has now commenced. In our view this editorial clearly indicates a settled intention to obtain information from persistent pursuit and the following of our client’s son and breaches the prohibition on harassment, " the letter says.
The paper’s managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, said: "The NoW is satisfied that its coverage is accurate and the newspaper has acted throughout entirely within the Code of Practice."
By Jean Morgan