A DAD today spoke exclusively to the Echo and revealed he was “terrified” of being jailed for his Twitter post about Jamie Bulger’s killers.
Dean Liddle, of Moorside, told how his life has been turned upside down after he made a “critical error of judgment,” by breaching a court order and tweeting pictures which purported to depict Jon Venables and Robert Thompson as adults.
“I’m not bitter or angry,” said the 28-year-old graphic designer. “I’m just sorry.
“The past few months have been a nightmare, and I really did think I was going to jail.
“I was terrified my son would be getting up in the mornings and his dad wouldn’t be there.”
On Friday, Liddle was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 15 months, at London’s High Court after breaching the injunction and disclosing the photos to 950 followers on his Twitter page.
Back at his Sunderland home, Liddle today revealed the reasons behind his decision to post the pictures, but claimed he had “no idea how serious” his actions would be taken.
The former youth worker said: “It was February 14, two days after the 20th anniversary of the murder, and I was looking on Twitter and saw this picture was going about everywhere.
“I’d also seen it on Facebook, so I decided to take it and post it on my Twitter page because I felt people should know what they looked like.
“I didn’t do it to incite hatred or violence. I would never do that.
“But I’m a parent, and I felt it was only right that people should be made aware of this.”
But Liddle accepts his actions breached the court order imposed before Venables and Thompson were released, prohibiting the solicitation or publication of any information purporting to identify their physical appearance, whereabouts, movements or new identities.
The pair were 10 years old when they abducted two-year-old Jamie in Bootle, Merseyside, before torturing and killing him.
They were convicted later in the year, and both released in 2001, receiving a new secret identity and address.
Looking back, Liddle says he was oblivious at the time to the consequences of his actions.
But on March 5, last year, he received a knock on the door of the home he shares with wife Kaleigh, 25, and son Rylan, five.
A representative of the Attorney-General’s office handed him papers saying he was being prosecuted for Contempt of Court due to his online posting. After travelling with Kaleigh to court on Friday, Liddle admitted the offence, and was handed down the suspended sentence.
The former Farringdon School pupil claims he’s been held up as an “example” by the court who, he believes, aimed to set down a precedent, warning other social media users that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. Liddle’s case was the first time the Attorney-General had issued contempt proceedings over the use of social media.
“I don’t blame them for what they did,” he said. “I feel I have been treated fairly because it is their job to uphold the law, and that’s exactly what they did.
“I guess I posted those pictures because I’m a protective dad.
“I never thought I’d have children, I always believed I was too selfish, but when I did, it completely changed my life.”
His son Rylan was born deaf in his right ear and with mild hearing loss in his left. It has made the dad even more protective.
He took part in Sunderland’s Zipwire Challenge yesterday to raise money for the National Deaf Children’s Society.
“I’ve learned a lot from this experience,” he added. “I need to be much more aware of the serious consequences of my actions.”