In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James Bulger. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, sends chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if helping little James find his mother. The truth was that they were leading him on a long journey, one that led him to his death.
The shocking details of how James was treat and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity. However, they need noting. As SkyNews reports, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance. According to Wikipedia it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face.
At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened.
James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling.
The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone.
As the 20th anniversary of this terrible murder rolls around there remain many questions unanswered.
How do a family come to terms the murder of a small child? When the murder is about as horrific as it could be, do they have any chance of moving on?
The murder of James is back in the news as it is the 20th anniversary. Once again though, it is the sentencing of killers Venables and Thompson which is causing debate.
Was the sentence fitting for a 10-year-old found guilty of the murder of a child? Not an accidental murder but a cruel, horrific murder.
Denise Fergus, the mother of James, told SkyNews that "despite fighting for two decades she feels she has still not achieved justice".
Convicted of murder and given life sentences in November 1993, Venables and Thompson were released back into society in 2001. Both were given new identities and their new location was not known.
Too short a sentence? Appropriate sentencing due to the age of the boys? You tell me.
The mother of James believes that the UK needs tougher sentencing. Denise Fergus has now gone on record saying, "They should make them realise what they've done is wrong. If they give them a hard enough time maybe they'll think again before they go on to commit another crime.
"What I'm saying is stop giving them stupid sentences like five or 10 years or if they get a 10-year sentence stop dropping it to five years because of good behaviour.
"They've done bad in the first place to be there. Start giving them proper sentences, sentences that fit the crime and stop being so lenient on them."
In the UK the age of the killers was an important factor in their sentences. The fact that two boys were already damaged enough to commit such a heinous crime is a slur on us all. Surely society has let down the killers, James, his mother and his family?
Sometimes though, two children are just a lethal combination.
Jon Venables received a jail sentence again in 2010. He was downloading and distributing indecent images of children. He is now making a new bid for release.
This time though Denise Fergus will deliver a victim statement in person to his parole board.
20-years-on the murder of James Bulger still can bring tears to your eyes and your heart. What can the UK do to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again?
Final note: According to the Mirror Denise Fergus has said, "Don't release Jon Venables-he was born evil"