LONDON – A computer game that featured footage of murdered British toddler James Bulger has been withdrawn from sale after complaints from his mother.
Denise Fergus, 37, who still lives in the same Liverpool-area home, was furious that a company used the grainy closed-circuit television image of her son’s kidnapping as a clue in a game.
The photograph showed James, 2, walking off hand in hand with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, his 10-year-old abductors, from The Strand shopping center in February 1993.
The youngster was led through streets to a railway siding where he was tortured, killed and his body abandoned across the track. The two killers were released from state custody in 2001.
The CCTV footage was issued by Merseyside Police to help in the murder investigation and became instantly recognizable around the world.
The image appeared in the game " Law and Order: Double or Nothing," a spin-off from the television crime series.
After Fergus said she was consulting lawyers over the footage, the California-based developer of the game, Legacy Interactive, is reported to have apologized for any distress and said the photograph would be removed from future copies.
The game has been withdrawn from sale by its U.K. distributor, Global Software.
Fergus described the use of the image as sick and hurtful to her and her family. She added that she was determined to do everything in her power to have the material destroyed.
She said: “To know that James has been turned into a clue in a game makes me very angry. The people who made this game have treated him as though he is public property, like some kind of fictional figure. It dehumanizes the memory of my lovely son."
Fergus appealed to anybody who had bought the game to destroy it or send it back to the manufacturer demanding a refund.
Recently, senior Church of England clergy complained that the interior of Manchester Cathedral featured prominently in a violent shoot-out in the PlayStation 3 game "Resistance: Fall of Man."
Albert Kirby, the retired police officer who led the police investigation into James’s murder, said: “It is thoughtless, inconsiderate and lacks any form of decency to choose to use such emotive images in a game.”