DENISE Fergus marked the 25th anniversary of her son’s brutal murder this year.
James Bulger’s ordeal sent shock waves around the world after it emerged that he had been tortured and left for dead by two 10-year-old boys in 1993. Here’s what you need to know…
Who is Denise Fergus?
Denise Fergus is the mother of James Bulger.
Her toddler was abducted from a shopping centre in 1993 and brutally tortured before being left for dead on a railway track.
The little boy was seen on CCTV walking out of the shopping centre hand-in-hand with one of his killers in one of the most chilling images of the 20th century.
Thompson and Venables were found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison, making them the country’s youngest killers.
What is she campaigning for?
Denise, who had left school in Kirby, Liverpool with no qualifications, took on the legal system and the government to fight the lenient sentence.
It was increased to 15 years by then-Home Secretary Michael Howard, but his decision was overruled.
The child killers were released from prison in 2001 after serving their original eight-year term.
Since their release, Denise has campaigned against their right to anonymity and the money spent on giving the pair new identities.
She also called for a public enquiry to discover what officials knew about the sexual abuse that her son suffered before his death.
Her solicitor Sean Sexton has listed 14 questions which he claims remain unanswered.
One includes why experts missed Venables’ interest in child abuse until his conviction for extreme child porn in 2010.
After a Good Morning Britain investigation revealed that 1,230 sex offenders have succeeded to get themselves removed from the register in the last six years, Denise expressed her horror.
She said: ” I am disgusted that people are able to start a process to be removed from the sex offenders’ register. Surely if you are put on the sex offender register for life, your offences are so serious you should remain on there for life.”
When was ‘I Let Him Go’ published and what is it about?
To mark the 25th anniversary of James’ death, Denise released a book titled ‘I Let Him Go’.
It has been described as part memoir and part attack on the legal system which she says let her down.
Denise claims the book is also an attempt to change how her son is remembered and to “bring him back to life”.
She says she is tired of her son being remembered only as the boy who was murdered.
She said: “He was very bubbly. He loved dancing to Michael Jackson videos and making people laugh.
“My happiest memory of him is him running towards me with his hair bouncing everywhere.
“He didn’t walk anywhere. He’d run into your arms with a big smile on his face.”
The book, which was released on January 25th, is a heart-breaking account of how she is haunted by the events of that day.
Denise says she suffered panic attacks for many years as she thought of James’ last moments alive and how he must have been calling out for his mum.
In the book, she describes how she was a cautious young mother who almost always took James out in his buggy.
Denise recalls how on the day of his death, she decided to forgo the buggy for their shopping trip.
That day, she let go of James’ hand in the butcher’s shop to take her purse out.
It was long enough for the toddler to be snatched, and for her to be haunted by that moment for the rest of her life.
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In the book, she writes: “When you’ve lost a child, you go through stages.
“You blame yourself. You blame others.
“But at the end of it there are only two people to blame in this, and that’s the two who took him.
“But it did take me a long time to realise that and get my head around it.
“It wasn’t me that killed James.”
Denise also confirms that she knows very little about what her baby boy went through as she did not attend the three-week trial.
At the time, she was heavily pregnant with her second child and was told she risked miscarrying from stress.
Even today, her second husband Stuart goes through newspapers with a thick black marker to block out any details she would be unable to cope with.