A PAIR who unmasked James Bulger’s paedo killer Jon Venables online have today been spared jail. Richard McKeag, 28, and Natalie Barker, 36,
A PAIR who unmasked James Bulger’s paedo killer Jon Venables online have today been spared jail.
Richard McKeag, 28, and Natalie Barker, 36, posted a photo of the murderer online despite him being granted a lifelong anonymity order to protect his identity.
Venables and Robert Thompson have been living with new names since being released from jail for the kidnap, torture and killing of two-year-old James in 1993.
McKeag and Barker both admitted contempt of court offences at the High Court after posting material they claimed related to Venables as well as seeking information about Thompson.
Mr Justice Warby handed McKeag a 12-month sentence, while Barker was given eight months – both suspended for two years.
‘STUPID AND IMPULSIVE’
The judge said McKeag’s offences were “planned and deliberate”, while Barker was “stupid and impulsive”.
Through his counsel, Keir Monteith, McKeag said: “I hold my hands up for having a total disregard for the law.
“It is not up to me to serve justice that must be left to the courts.”
James’ killers – then aged ten – shocked the nation when they abducted the toddler and mutilated him before leaving his body on railway tracks in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1993.
Little James was led away by the depraved duo while his mother was in a butcher’s shop at a busy shopping centre.
Who else in the UK has lifelong anonymity?
There are six criminals with lifelong anonymity in the UK – four of them notorious.
- Maxine Carr – ex-lover of Soham monster Ian Huntley who murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both ten, in 2002. Maxine provided him with a false alibi and was jailed for three-and-a-half years in December 2003 for perverting the court of justice.
- Mary Bell – child killer strangled Martin Brown, 4, and Brian Howe, 3, in 1968 when she was just ten-years-old. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1980 aged 23 and given a fresh identity to protect her daughter when she was born four years later.
- The Edlington brothers – The “devil brothers” were 10 and 11 when they tortured two young boys in a horrific attack in 2009. Their victims, aged 9 and 11, were assaulted for 90-minutes in a rubbish-strewn ravine in Edlington, South Yorkshire. In December 2016 they were granted lifelong anonymity over fears of vigilante attacks. The younger brother was given a second new identity after being found with a blade 20 weeks later.
They poured modelling paint into his eyes, stoned him and clubbed him with bricks, before leaving him on the railway line to be hit by a train.
‘POSTING MATERIAL ONLINE A CRIME’
Thompson has not re-offended since being released on licence when he was 18 years old.
In February of this year Venables was jailed for 40 months after he admits to possessing more than 1,000 indecent images of children.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC, who instigated contempt proceedings against McKeag and Barker last year, said after the hearing: “These are both serious examples of contempt of court and I instigated these proceedings as it was in the wider public interest to do so.
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“The injunction protects the identities of the offenders, but also innocent individuals who may be wrongly identified as being one of the two men and placed in danger as a result.
“I will review any further contempt of court allegations made to me and hope this sends a message to anyone tempted to do the same thing.
“Posting this material online is a crime.”
James Bulger was killed in February 1993 in a brutal murder[/caption]
Robert Thompson was also convicted of the murder that shocked the nation[/caption]