JAMES Bulger's killer Jon Venables has been granted a rare two-day parole hearing behind closed doors.
The child killer, now 40, could now be freed by Christmas.
Venables and Robert Thompson, 39, were both aged just 10 when they kidnapped James while he was shopping in Bootle, Merseyside with his mum.
The sick pair tortured and sexually abused the two-year-old before leaving his body on train tracks.
The crimes sent shockwaves through the country, and the murderers were locked up indefinitely.
But in 2001 the killers won unprecedented lifelong anonymity, and were freed the same year under new identities.
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However, Venables was arrested for affray in 2008 and spent the next 10 years in and out of prison.
Then, in 2018 Venables was jailed after he admited to possessing more than 1,000 indecent images of children.
A source told The Sun in June the killer was said to have feared he would never be freed from prison as his Parole Board hearing kept being delayed.
However, the Board today confirmed a hearing will take place on November 14 and 15.
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A spokesperson said: "An oral hearing has been listed for the parole review of Jon Venables and is scheduled to take place in November 2023. Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
"A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.
"Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing. Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements are then given at the hearing.
"The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority."
It comes after Channel 5 documentary James Bulger: The Trial told the story of Venables and Thompson's 1993 trial.
The film cuts clips from a reenactment of the trial with videos taken at the time.
Evil Venables was recalled to jail for possessing child sex images on licence in both 2010 and 2017.
James’ mum Denise Fergus, 55, has met Justice Secretary Alex Chalk to voice her opposition to Venables’ ever being released.
Venables is held at a category-A jail in northern England.
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