I Let Him Go.

By Denise Fergus

Printed: 2018

Publisher: Blink Publishing. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Navy cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

On 12th February 1993, Denise Fergus’ life changed forever. As she was running errands at New Strand Shopping Centre, she let go of her two-year-old son’s hand for a few seconds to take out her purse.

Denise never saw her son again. For the first time since that moment 25 years ago, Denise tells her extraordinary story in this heart-wrenching book, an unflinching account of that terrible day. What if she had never taken James shopping? What if she had turned right coming out of the butcher’s, instead of left? Denise’s initial hope after seeing her son on CCTV with other children quickly turned to devastation when, two days later, James’ body was found. His death reverberated around the world and his killers became the youngest ever convicted murderers in UK legal history. Four minutes is all it took for them to lead James away from his mother to his death. Denise took up a tortuous legal battle for James, and it was her astonishing strength and love for her son that ultimately helped to change the way the law treats victims of crime.

This is a mother’s tale, of finding a way through the despair to remember the happiness and wonderful memories that James brought his family. Above all, Denise doesn’t want her son to be remembered as a murdered child, and with this beautifully written book, she does just that.

Review: ‪I Let Him Go was a difficult read in places, but I can only applaud and feel deep admiration and respect for Denise Fergus in sharing her story. Over the years so much has been written about her which is simply untrue and here she has been able to set the record straight. She has only ever fought for justice for her son, and put everything else aside and attempted to have a happy life with her husband and children. She is a remarkably brave and inspirational woman and this book has only proven that further. ‬‪I am just a few months older than James Bulger would be now. My mum and I would go shopping each week to the Strand shopping centre where the abduction took place, even days before it happened and James’s resting place is just down the path from where my grandad’s is. Even as a young child I was told and was aware that this resting place was for a very special boy. Whilst there aren’t many people in the UK that don’t know about this case, there’s certainly nobody in Liverpool that doesn’t know about it and I think everybody (at least those of us with feelings and sanity) shares in the disgust and disbelief at the government cover-up still to this day to protect these two evil killers, one of whom continues to find himself back in prison. How is it justifiable to let this man read evidence from Denise and see her via video link and yet she must remain oblivious about his protected life? At times the book made me shake with anger at what I was reading, but ultimately the message to be taken is how much work is still to be done on changing the law and that is what Denise will continue to fight for and I find it extremely admirable. ‬‪This is a highly emotional read throughout that brought me to tears multiple times. Denise talks with searing honesty and having watched her in multiple interviews, and only days ago on Loose Women, I found myself reading this book with her voice in my head. Denise talks about meeting Ralph, falling in love and having James and despite heartbreak with delivering their daughter who had sadly died, they went on to have James who just sounded the most delightful child (however Denise does point out how incredibly mischievous he could be!) At times I could have been reading stories from my own mum so similar were they to the mischief I used to cause at that age. It’s even more heartbreaking reading about her joy at being a mother to James when I knew what was coming up in subsequent chapters. Reading about those scenes, the disappearance and then the arrest of two children and then their trials just filled me with dread, made me feel sick and just made tears stream down my face.‬ ‪It’s remarkable to read about how Denise coped and got through a time no person should ever have to face. The strength and determination shone through and it was wonderful to read about how her life was effectively saved when she found out she was pregnant with Michael. I loved the parts of the book where Michael spoke about the love and protectiveness he feels towards his mum, and about how they as a family talk about James everyday. How she met and fell in love with Stuart is wonderful too. Denise has said she doesn’t want James to be remembered as a murdered child but to be remembered for the happy and loving boy that he was, and that’s certainly what I have taken from this book. The love she has for James, her family, her children and her husband just shines through throughout the whole book and I feel incredibly happy that she has been able to achieve this within her life after such a tragedy. Despite not knowing Denise personally it’s hard not to be affected by something like this that happened so close to home. ‬‪The story of James Bulger is one that people will never forget, but I think it’s important that people really support Denise and her family in raising awareness and in following her campaigning work and to sign petitions where they can. To sign a petition takes not even 5 minutes but it can have such a huge impact on what Denise is fighting for. Look her up on Twitter, follow the case and put your name to the fight. It can be achieved and with the determination of people like Denise and her family it will one day be achieved. She also has a charity set up in James’s name and I am already thinking of ways that I could perhaps fundraise for it and make some small impact. I love everything that it stands for. I know that a small portion of proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards it and so I highly recommend that people go out and purchase this book. Yes it is an emotional read but it is so much more than that. Denise and her family are remarkable people and through the writing of this book she has ensured that the memory of her beautiful son will live on and that he will never be forgotten.


        James Bulger being abducted by Thompson (above Bulger) and Venables (holding Bulger’s hand) in an image recorded on shopping centre CCTV

James Patrick Bulger (16 March 1990 – 12 February 1993) was a two-year-old boy from Kirkby, Merseyside, England, who was abducted, tortured, and murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson (born 23 August 1982) and Jon Venables (born 13 August 1982), on 12 February 1993. Thompson and Venables led Bulger away from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, after his mother had taken her eyes off him momentarily. His mutilated body was found on a railway line two and a half miles (four kilometers) away in Walton, Liverpool, two days after his abduction.

Thompson and Venables were charged on 20 February 1993 with abduction and murder. They were found guilty on 24 November, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern British history. They were sentenced to indefinite detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure, and remained in custody until a Parole Board decision in June 2001 recommended their release on a lifelong license at age 18. Venables was sent to prison in 2010 for breaching the terms of his licence, was released on parole again in 2013, and in November 2017 was again sent to prison for possessing child sexual abuse images on his computer.

The Bulger case has prompted widespread debate about how to handle young offenders when they are sentenced or released from custody.

About the Author – Denise Fergus is the mother of James Bulger, who was murdered in 1993 – in a series of events that shocked the world. Denise lives with her three sons and her second husband, Stuart. In 2010, Denise launched the James Bulger Memorial Trust, which supports young victims of crime, hatred and bullying. In January 2017, Denise was given the British Citizen Award for her tireless work helping other families through situations similar to her own.

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