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Heartbreaking new James Bulger documentary leaves viewers in tears

Channel 5's The Killing of James Bulger aired on Wednesday night

james bulger reactions
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
March 11, 2021
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Viewers have been left in tears over James Bulger's tragic death all over again, as a new documentary aired about the toddler's murder.

MORE: The Killing of James Bulger: Where are Robert Thompson and Jon Venables now?

Channel 5's The Killing of James Bulger examines what happened on the day in February 1993 which led to James' death, how the young killers were caught and the devastating legacy of the murder on James' family and the community. 

In the first half of the two-part doc, James' mother Denise Fergus spoke for the first time on camera about the moment her young son slipped away from her in Liverpool's New Strand Shopping Centre. "I left the buggy [at home] for the first time," she said. "It was the biggest mistake of my life." 

WATCH: James Bulger's mum Denise Fergus on living with the grief of losing a child

After hearing Denise's comments, many viewers took to social media to share their sympathies and praise her for her strength. "There have been countless child murders over the years, but none makes me cry more than the murder of baby James Bulger," one viewer wrote. "His mother, Denise Fergus's pain still pierces your heart with the same depth as it did all those years ago. My heart breaks for her."

james bulger denise

James' mum Denise Fergus opened up about her terrible loss in the documentary

MORE: The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews: viewers praise same thing after watching doc 

MORE: Netflix's new true-crime series Murder Among the Mormons has fans saying same thing

Another added: "The Killing of James Bulger last night on channel 5 was one of the saddest things I've ever watched. I have no idea how @Denise_Fergus held herself with so much dignity throughout the murder of her baby son, shes one very strong lady," while a third said: "This story is beyond heartbreaking. It is every parent's worst nightmare."

After it was discovered via CCTV footage that the toddler had been led away from the shopping centre and killed by ten-year-old Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the two became the youngest people convicted of murder in English history. 

james bulger

James was led away from from Liverpool's Strand shopping centre

While Thompson, who investigators described as "switched on" and "clever" despite his young age, has not reoffended since being released in 2001, Venables was sent back to prison in 2010 and again in 2017 for possessing indecent images of children. He is currently serving a 40-month sentence. 

Both killers were also given new identities following their initial release, although Venables' has had his changed twice as he has both disclosed his real name and had it leaked by the public. Over the years, many individuals, including Shameless actress Tina Malone, have been fined or jailed for revealing details about the Thompson and Venables' new identities, which is protected by a worldwide injunction.

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