29 Mar CONTEMPT – TINA MALONE AVOIDS PRISON OVER ‘BULGER KILLER PHOTO’ POST
Former Shameless and Brookside star Tina Malone has escaped prison with an eight month suspended sentence, after she admitted breaching an injunction which protects the identity of James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables.
A worldwide injunction prohibits the identification of Venables or Robert Thompson, both of whom received life sentences in 1993 for the murder of two year old James Bulger when they were ten.
In the latest contempt of court proceedings relating to the sharing of information said to be about to Venables, Malone pleaded guilty and accepted through her barrister that she had breached the injunction by sharing a Facebook post.
She told the court she knew Bulger’s killers had been given anonymity when they were released and had been living in Liverpool at the time of his murder.
The Court heard Malone shared a Facebook message in February 2018, which was said to include an image of Venables and his new name.
Malone initially said she had not been aware she had done anything wrong.
Her barrister told the Court that she said she had mental health problems at the time she shared the post, and was caring for her five-year-old daughter and elderly mother.
He said she understood Venables had been given anonymity for his protection, but that there was no vigilantism in her case.
Along with the eight month suspended sentence, Malone was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Two other individuals narrowly avoided jail in February for similar offences.
Richard McKeag, 28, and Natalie Barker, 36, admitted breaching the ban on revealing Venables’ identity by posting pictures and other details.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Warby handed McKeag a 12-month sentence, while Barker was given eight months, both suspended for two years.
In separate proceedings, an application to lift the lifelong anonymity order by James Bulger’s father was dismissed earlier this month.
Given that the injunction remains in force, it seems unlikely that Malone’s case will be the last arising from the anonymisation of Britain’s most notorious child murders.