My home town of Perth recently bore witness to perhaps the most shocking crime in recent memory around these parts – earlier this week, an eight year old girl was raped and murdered, her body dumped in the disabled toilet of a popular Perth shopping centre just minutes after she was separated from her parents. Now a strange twist has created even more public interest in the case. The individual apprehended and charged with the offence, twenty one year old Dante Arthurs, is rumoured to be one of the two boys who killed James Bulger back in 1993.
There are a number of coincidences that have given rise to the aforementioned rumour. Perth’s local rag, The West Australian, notes that
a Sue and Ron Arthurs lived in Surrey, south of London and left to return to Australia in 2002. Around the same time, the Bulger killers were believed to be entering a secret relocation program
More chillingly, The West – in its typical muckraking fashion – actually made the link between Dante Arthurs and the Bulger case last year. It put the question regarding Dante’s identity to the family then; long before he committed the offence he is currently being held for. It is quite remarkable that Dante, quizzed about his identity vis-Á -vis the Bulger case, would later go on to commit such a similar crime.
When the rumour surfaced, the Western Australian police force and justice system immediately rushed to scotch it. British authorities declared it untrue; the Bulger killers were not relocated to Australia. The Arthurs family vehemently denied that Dante Arthurs is an assumed identity, masking one of the Bulger killers. They produced a birth notice, published in The West Australian in 1984, declaring Dante’s birth. This would appear to conclusively bury the rumour, however some have pondered whether the birth notice simply illustrates the depth of Dante’s cover. Personally, I suspect it is more than likely that Dante is not a re-identified John Venables or Robert Thompson, and the startling coincidences linking the two cases are no more than startling coincidences. However, it must be noted that all the parties who have denied the rumour also have a strong interest in ensuring the confidentiality of such an arrangement, if it indeed exists. If child-killers like Venables or Thompson were released, given new identities and shipped off to foreign lands – only to re-offend there in similar circumstances – the political consequences would be enormous. It would at least spell the end of such expedient methods of dealing with society’s most notorious (but presumably rehabilitated) malefactors; a scenario authorities in Britain and Australia would rather not suffer. If Arthurs is one of the Bulger killers, I have no doubt that authorities would sooner lie about it if they think such evasiveness could head off the ensuing major international scandal that would inevitably follow the breaking of such news.
Unfortunately for any government agency attempting a cover-up, if the rumours are correct about Dante Arthurs, I think it likely that the truth will be explosively revealed here and in Britain sooner rather than later. There is so much public interest in the Dante Arthurs case that every angle of this tragic affair will be exhaustively probed by investigative journalists. No doubt they are at it now – wading through birth and death records, electoral rolls and the like, hunting for inconsistencies – whilst hounding their snouts within the public service for information. A devastating public service leak is a strong possibility; if there is anything to leak, that is. I still maintain that all the journalistic investigations will probably come to naught, as Dante Arthurs is most likely not Jon Venables nor Robert Thompson. However, I may be wrong and we could be seeing the early stages of a scandal that will shake the justice systems of Great Britain and Australia to their foundations.