A man who has been jailed for dealing drugs has said that he fell into a life of crime as a result of finding James Bulger’s body 24 years ago. Terence Riley was 13 when he found the murdered toddler’s remains on a train line in Merseyside in 1993. He was jailed for 12 years in 2009 after being extradited from Holland for drugs crimes but soon after his release he was in Liverpool Crown Court again. Judge Anil Murray accepted he may have suffered PTSD as a result of his discovery as he jailed him for 12 months.Riley’s brother, James, also cites the discovery of Jamie’s body to explain his life of crime.
In 2010, James Riley appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for stealing a bottle of brandy with a criminal record of 47 convictions and argued it was due to finding the dead child.Brendan Carville, defending, said: ‘The horror of what he found on that occasion with his brother and two friends is something he has lived with ever since. Rather than taking advantage of counselling and the like he turned to alcohol and drugs.’
Jamie Bulger was abducted from The Strand shopping centre in Bootle by 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson on Friday February 12, 1993. Within three hours, the toddler was dead, but his body was only discovered on the railway line by the Riley brothers the following Sunday. Venables and Thompson were sent to secure children’s homes and have since been given fresh identities.
Speaking in 2003, the Rileys’ grandmother Ann Nesbitt explained how their traumatic discovery had torn their family apart. Ms Nesbitt said: ‘Neither has spoken of it. They bottled it up. We tried to get the boys to talk about it, but they used to become hysterical, screaming they didn’t want to think about it.
A life of crime
In 2004 Terence was also convicted of dangerous driving and in 2009 was jailed for smuggling drugs from South America into England via Amsterdam. A year later Terence was handed a further 18 months in prison, after failing to pay back £30,000 of his ill-gotten gains. He was working for Liverpool gangster David Hibbs-Turner, who was jailed for life with a minimum of 37 years for ordering the point-blank gun execution of dad-of-three Michael ‘Mikey’ Wright. Defending Terence in that 2009 drugs case, Ms Santamera said of the shocking James Bulger find: ‘He has seen things which no young person should have to see. ‘Of course, finding James Bulger’s body on the railway line, without any counselling, was bound to have some effect on such a young person.’ Ms Santamera accepted Riley was already known to police before he and his brother found James Bulger’s body. But she added: ‘One wonders if he had undergone counselling and got the help he needed after that incident, whether he would find himself in the position he is today.’