The brothers of tragic tot James Bulger will reveal the horror of dealing with his murder for the first time.
A new documentary to be aired next week will tell the family’s story of how they coped with the abduction and murder of two-year-old James in 1993 - an atrocious crime that shocked the country.
James’ brother Michael, 27, and half-brothers Thomas, 22, and Leon, 21, will speak in the two-part documentary, Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger, reports The Echo.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were 10 years old when they murdered James, having abducted him from The Strand shopping centre in Bootle.
Michael, born nine months after James’ disappearance, says: “Being James’ brother is not a weird thing.
“We have always grown up knowing he was there, what he was like, his character. In the household, we talk about James a lot.
“My mum will give us little stories and insights about what he was like. He has always been a character we wanted to know more about, wishing he was there, rather than someone who was in the background all the time.”
Leon adds: “Still now I can’t fathom exactly what happened - I don’t really want to know all the details about it.”
Michael also tells how mum Denise Fergus would always walk behind them in shops to keep them in her field of vision. He added: “We are a closer family because of what happened, we do spend more time together than some other families.”
Michael said: “Going through school I wasn’t allowed on school trips or to go to the shops with my mates.
“The only place I was allowed was either in the front garden or literally outside the gate with my mates, but I would have to be in view of the window, so if I went out of sight, Mum would be straight out.”
Mum Denise split from husband Ralph late in 1993, shortly after having Michael, and went on to marry second husband Stuart Fergus, with whom she shares Thomas and Leon.
On 12 February 1993, James was drawn away from Denise at the shopping centre by Venables and Thompson, who were playing truant from school.
Denise soon realised her son was gone, and an announcement was made over the tannoy. CCTV footage eventually saw James being led away by the two older boys.
On February 14, police found James’ body on a railway embankment, his injuries showing that he’d been murdered.
He suffered 42 injuries, so many that a pathologist was unable to isolate the fatal blow.
Bricks and paint were thrown at him, and he’d been kicked and beaten.
Venables was identified after a neighbour saw him with paint on his coat, and was linked to Thompson who had dodged school with him.
After a 17-day trial in November 1993, Venables and Thompson - the youngest UK murder defendants in more than a century - were found guilty of James’ abduction and murder.
The judge branded James’ murder an act of “unparalleled evil and barbarity.”
Their sentence was eventually reduced to seven years and eight months, meaning they wouldn’t serve time in an adult prison. They were freed on licence with lifelong anonymity.
Venables, now 38, was sent back to prison in 2010 and 2017 for possessing indecent images of children.
He has been serving a 40-month sentence and was denied parole when his sentence reached the halfway stage last September.
*Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger will air at 9pm on Channel 5 on Wednesday, March 10 and Thursday, March 11