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The Killing of James Bulger: Where is James' dad Ralph now?

Ralph Bulger did not appear in the Channel 5 documentary

james bulger ralph
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
March 12, 2021
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The Killing of James Bulger have been leaving viewers heartbroken all over again over the tragic and senseless death of two-year-old James Bulger. 

MORE: The Killing of James Bulger: Where is James’ mum Denise now?

The two part-documentary, which aired over two nights on Channel 5 this week, tells the definitive story of what happened to the toddler after he was lured away from his mother in a Liverpool shopping centre and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. 

Several key figures involved in the case appear in the documentary, including police officers, journalists and James's mother, Denise. However, notably absent is James' father, Ralph Bulger, leaving many viewers wondering what happened to him and where he is now. 

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

While it's not known why Ralph chose not to take part in the documentary, he has been vocal about his son's tragic death over the years.

After James was killed in 1993, Ralph and Denise suffered marital difficulties and divorced in 1995. However, before that, they had another child together, a son named Michael. 

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

MORE: Heartbreaking new James Bulger documentary leaves viewers in tears

Michael was born ten months after James' brutal murder and just weeks after Thompson and Venables' trial concluded. The two killers were sent to a young offenders' institute, where they stayed until their release at the age of 18 with new identities.

james bulger parents© Photo: Rex

Ralph and Denise with their second son Michael

Nearly twenty years later, Ralph became a father again. He and his second wife Natalie McDermott, welcomed a baby girl in 2014. On the anniversary of James' death, he was pictured visiting James's grave with his daughter, nicknamed 'Princess', now six.

Speaking to The Mirror at the time, he said: "My beautiful daughter makes my life worth living, and it feels right to bring her to say hello to James now. I don't want her to live in the shadow of her brother's dark and brutal killing."

ralph bulger© Photo: Getty Images

Ralph Bulger has asked courts to overturn Venables' lifelong anonymity

More recently, Ralph has made headlines for his attempts to overturn one of his son's killer's lifelong anonymity. While Thompson 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. 

Ralph argued that the public should be made aware of some information about him without threat of prosecution. However, his plea was denied by a judge who said the anonymity order was necessary to protect Venables from "being put to death".

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