James Patrick Bulger (16 March 1990 – 12 February 1993) was a boy from Kirkby, England, who was murdered on 12 February 1993, when aged two. He was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson (born 23 August 1982) and Jon Venables (born 13 August 1982). Bulger disappeared from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, near Liverpool, while accompanying his mother. His mutilated body was found on a railway line two-and-a-half miles away in Walton, two days after his murder. Thompson and Venables were charged on 20 February with Bulger's abduction and murder.
At the trial it was established that at this location, one of the boys threw blue Humbrol modelling paint, which they had shoplifted earlier, into Bulger's left eye. They kicked and stamped on him, and threw bricks and stones at him. Batteries were placed in Bulger's mouth. Police believed some batteries may have been inserted into his anus, although none were found there. Finally, a 22-pound (10.0h kg) iron bar, described in court as a railway fishplate, was dropped on him. Bulger suffered ten skull fractures as a result of the iron bar striking his head. Dr. Alan Williams, the case's pathologist, stated that Bulger suffered so many injuries — 42 in total — that none could be isolated as the fatal blow.
Before they left him, the boys laid Bulger across the railway tracks and weighted his head down with rubble, in the hope that a train would hit him and make his death appear to be an accident. After Bulger's killers left the scene, his body was cut in half by a train. Bulger's severed body was discovered two days later, on 14 February. A forensic pathologist testified that he had died before he was struck by the train.
The police quickly found low-resolution video images of Bulger's abduction from the New Strand Shopping Centre by two unidentified boys. As the circumstances surrounding the death became clear, tabloid newspapers denounced the people who had seen Bulger but had not intervened to aid Bulger as he was being taken through the city, as the Liverpool 38 . The railway embankment upon which his body had been discovered was flooded with hundreds of bunches of flowers.