James Bulger, A Mother’s Story With Trevor McDonald
9pm, ITV, Thursday, February 8
In February 1993 an unprecedented crime shocked Britain and reverberated around the world. Denise Fergus’ son, two-year-old James Bulger, was abducted from a shopping centre in Liverpool and brutally murdered by two 10-year-old boys. Trevor McDonald broke the news to the nation in his role as anchor of ITV’s News at Ten.
The story was one of the most disturbing of his long and distinguished career. He says: “I remember reporting the James Bulger case as a presenter for News At Ten all those years ago. What I’ll never forget is the sense of horror at those CCTV images that showed James being led away.”
Now Denise is inviting Trevor into her home, where the memory of James is everywhere. In a deeply personal interview Denise opens up, not only about the day that changed her life forever but about the eternity of a mother’s love.
Sharing memories, family photographs and videos, Denise remembers James fondly as “so loving, he was always laughing. He loved listening to music. He was just a lovely little boy.” Trevor finds a family home where a child taken at such a tender age will never be forgotten.
She talks frankly about the split second she let go of James’ hand and the horror of the days that followed, the anger she felt at the sentence her son’s killers received and the painful years she’s spent fighting for the justice she feels James has never had.
As well as featuring Denise’s full and frank testimony, Trevor speaks to key figures in Liverpool to gain a vivid insight into a case that continues to raise so many troubling questions. Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were the youngest children to be tried for murder in the 20th Century. Did the criminal justice system get it right? And what could possibly have driven two school boys to commit such a brutal act?