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Two men admit contempt of court for publishing pictures believed to be James Bulger killers on Twitter and Facebook

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

April 26, 2013 | 3 min read

Two men who published photographs believed to be up-to-date images of the killers of toddler James Bulger on social media admitted being in contempt of court at a High Court hearing on Friday.

Murder: The 10 year olds killed James Bulger in 1993

Neil Harkins and Dean Liddle were alleged to have posted the pictures on Facebook and Twitter, which breached a High Court injunction preventing the publication of any information leading the identification of either Jon Venables or Robert Thompson, who murdered the two-year-old in 1993 when they were 10 years old.

It's the first time the Attorney-General has started contempt proceedings involving social media. An investigation was launched after the photographs appeared online in February when Harkins was said to have posted them on Facebook and Liddle on Twitter. Police ordered Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove any pictures believed to be of the pair soon after.

A statement from the Attorney-General's office said: "There are many different images circulating online claiming to be of Venables of Thompson. Potentially innocent individuals may be wrongly identified as being one of the two men and placed in danger.

"The order, and its enforcement, is therefore intended to protect not only Venables and Thompson, but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being one of the two men.

"The injunction applies to both media organisations and individuals."

The court heard that the pair were aware of restrictions but continued on their course of action. The pictures were posted two days after the 20th anniversary of the toddler's death in Merseyside.

Thompson and Venables were released as adults in 2001 and given new identities, although Venables was jailed again in July 2010 for downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

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