U.K. Seeks to Punish Men Who Exposed Bulger Killers on Twitter

The U.K. government asked courts to punish two men who used Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. (FB) to publish photographs of the killers of Liverpool toddler James Bulger.

Dean Liddle and Neil Harkins posted photographs claiming to identify Jon Venables and Robert Thompson on the social media sites, which were “shared hundreds if not thousands of times,” breaching an order in effect since 2001, lawyers representing the U.K. Attorney General Dominic Grieve, said in court documents filed in London.

The murder of Bulger in 1993 was one of the most notorious in British history as Venables and Thompson were 10 when they abducted and killed the two-year-old. The pair were released from jail in 2001. The case triggered public protests and their identities were changed to protect them from reprisals.

“The level of animosity towards Thompson and Venables has not diminished,” Melanie Cumberland, a lawyer for the government, said in court today. Grieve is looking into bringing further prosecutions against other individuals, she said.

Lawyers for Liddle and Harkins said in court their clients admitted posting the material. The maximum penalty for contempt of court is two years in prison, lawyers for the government said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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