This song - said to be his favorite - was played at the funeral of James Bulger; the two-year-old was the victim of one of the most notorious murders in Britain in modern times. On February 12, 1993, while young mother Denise Bulger was delayed at a shop counter, her son wandered off. When she realized he'd gone, she panicked as any mother would have, but neither she nor the rest of the world could have imagined the horror that would follow. When security staff were unable to find him, the police were called in. Scanning the film from the Merseyside shopping center's 16 CCTV cameras, they picked up images of James with two young boys, including what has become an iconic photograph of one of them leading him by the hand.
The police organized a televised appeal for his return, but on Valentine's Day his body was found on a railway line nearly three miles from the shopping centre. The abductors were thought to be about 13 years old, but the following Thursday, acting on information received from a member of the public, two ten year old boys were arrested. The following November, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, then both aged eleven, became the youngest people to be convicted of murder in Britain in the Twentieth Century. Not only had they tortured the boy to death and staged the crime scene to look as though he had been killed by a train, but they had planned earlier in the day to abduct another child and murder it in a staged road accident.
On conviction, both Thompson and Venables were ordered to be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure but were released on life license with new identities (protected by a lifelong legal injunction) after serving only eight years, and without spending a day in prison, although in March 2010 it was announced by the Ministry of Justice that Venables, then aged twenty-seven, was back in custody after his life licence was revoked for an unspecified reason.
On July 23, 2010, in a unique legal hearing, Jon Venables appeared at the Central Criminal Court by video link from an unnamed prison and pleaded guilty to possessing 57 indecent images of young children, including a twelve minute video of an eight year old girl being raped. Only the judge was permitted to see his face. It was revealed at this time that in 2008 he was arrested in relation to a drunken street brawl, and was later cautioned for possessing cocaine. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and Mr. Justice Bean told him he would have to serve the full two years before he would be considered for release, but informed opinion is that it will be much longer before he is back on the street.
Shortly before his death, Michael Jackson gave permission for the release of a download of "Heal The World" to be used to raise funds for James Bulger House, a center for bullied children. In fact, Jackson went much further than that, and at the time of this quite shocking murder said he would like to have hugged Thompson and Venables, and that he felt empowered to heal them.
Alexander Baron - London, England