If I Had Turned Right, I’d Have Saved His Life

If I Had Turned Right, I’d Have Saved His Life


The Mother of little James Bulger has spoken in detail about the day her son went missing for the first time in 25 years. Denise Fergus reveals her deepest regrets from that fateful day. “The only time I let go of his hand, was to pay. When I looked down, James was gone.” She reveals. Denise frantically ran in the opposite direction that her son and his killers had gone. Read on to find out what happened that day from a Mothers perspective.

When I gave birth to my baby boy, I was full of hopes and dreams for him. The one thing I didn’t ever imagine was burying my son’s tiny body after his murder. No parent wants to outlive their child or say goodbye – but my final hours and minutes with my beautiful James will be etched on my mind until my dying day.
Getting my purse out to buy two pork chops for tea was the last thing I did before my world imploded for ever. I went into the butcher’s holding my little boy’s hand, making one final stop before heading home, and I left without James’s hand in mine.

It was one of those moments where the world feels like it is turning in slow motion. I remember this voice in my head. Not James. Not my beautiful boy. This couldn’t be happening to me, I didn’t ever let him out of my sight.

People often ask me if I blame myself for what happened that day – for taking my eyes off him for that split second; for letting go of his hand as I looked for my purse; for not seeing what the CCTV footage later showed: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson beckoning James away from my side and out of the shop at 3.39pm.

If I’d turned right instead of left, I’d have saved his life 

The answer is: of course I do. There aren’t the words to describe how I still feel now, every day. I was the one who let go of his hand; I was the one there meant to protect him. But do you know what my biggest regret is? That I didn’t turn right instead of left – if I had taken the right turn and gone around the corner, I would have seen James being led away, just four short minutes after he had left my side, trustingly holding hands with the boys who were about to murder him.

For more than 25 years I have been known as ‘Denise Bulger (later Denise Fergus), the mum of murdered James’, but before he was abducted on February 12, 1993, I was Denise Matthews from Kirkby, near Liverpool, and all I wanted was my own family.

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