How many people know Jon Venables’ new identity? Well, for a start, everybody who was in court 14 of the Old Bailey last Friday morning.
Given the number of times we were told his life was under threat, it was a big surprise to hear the name he adopted in 2001 being read out by the prosecutor.
We also got to hear the exact address where he had been living when he was accessing child porn on a personal computer. Not that we could report either of these details, thanks to an injunction.
One person who was in court was Denise Fergus, James Bulger’s mother. There were many others – about 40 members of the press, the judge, the clerk, the usher, a shorthand writer, a handful of police and probation officers as well as about a dozen laywers (representing the prosecution, defence, Cheshire Constabulary, Media and Attorney General).
None of these people is likely to start travelling the country shouting out Venables’ current name from the rooftops – but it does make you wonder why the Attorney General and Venables’ barrister were so keen to maintain the injunction.
A third identity now seems inevitable, particularly as ‘Jon Venables’ blew his cover so spectacularly. Those who knew him in Cheshire will put two and two together, and the likelihood is that someone somewhere will broadcast his assumed name over the internet, on Twitter or Facebook, just as someone named the mother and stepfather of Baby P before the court order was lifted.
Fellow prisoners are also likely to guess who he really is, meaning he’ll probably be kept in isolation for fear of attack.
In a few weeks we might be in the ludicrous situation where everybody knows Jon Venables’ name but the media will still be unable to publish it for fear of being taken to court.
Jon Venables, meanwhile, will go on being Jon Venables, the the killer of two year-old James Bulger.