BY MIGUEL CULLEN
JON VENABLES, one of the two murderers of two-year-old James Bulger, has been receiving visits from a Catholic priest, according to press reports.
According to a report in the irror, Venables has asked for three-hour visits from a priest and has since then made himself a string crucifix as well as receiving some rosary beads. Reports claim that he has also spent hours reading from the Bible in his cell.
Prison sources quoted in the report said they doubt if the conversion is genuine.
“It’s a well-trodden path for sick killers like Venables to find God,” said one. “They think that whatever they did in the past will be forgotten because they have suddenly become religious.
“He’s been going around talking about God and how in his eyes he will be forgiven for his sins. But it is a bit strange that he has never mentioned religion before and has only started talking about the Bible since he was jailed for the child porn offences a couple of weeks ago. It has disgusted people in the jail – especially those who have had to listen to him talking about God and the Bible. Everyone thinks it is an act on Venables’s part, and is some sort of bid to make his life in prison easier.” Venables, 27, will be unable to attend Mass in prison as he is isolated for his own safety.
Brighton priest Fr Ray Blake expressed some sympathy for Venables in March. He wrote: “I feel immensely sorry for Venables – as well as Jamie Bulger and his poor mother. We are what we are, it must be horrendous for Venables to wake up every morning and see facing him in the mirror a hated child killer, carrying all the baggage of a corrupted childhood which led up to murder, and the baggage which followed his conviction.
“We are what we are, what our parents, our childhood, our experiences have made us, they are inescapable, we can run away from them into drink, drugs or hedonism of one sort or another.
“We can pretend to ourselves we are something other than we are, that we are better than other sinners, that our sins are not that important. The whole message of Christianity is that all sin needs the sacrifice of Christ’s blood.”