NEWS
13/03/2019 12:01 GMT | Updated 13/03/2019 14:53 GMT

Shameless Star Tina Malone Handed Suspended Sentence After Sharing 'Photo Of James Bulger’s Killer'

Actor admits she knew Jon Venables' identity was under protection.

PA Wire/PA Images
A distraught Tina Malone leaves London's High Court on Wednesday.

Actor Tina Malone has been handed an eight-month suspended sentence after she admitted breaching an injunction protecting the identity of James Bulger killer Jon Venables.

The star of TV-hit Shameless shared a post on Facebook in February last year which purportedly included an image and the new name of Venables, London’s High Court heard.

Malone told the court through her lawyers that, on reflection after giving evidence, she accepted that she was in breach of the injunction. Her sentence will be suspended for two years.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ordered Malone to pay £10,000 towards the costs of the case.

There is a global ban on publishing anything that reveals the identities of Venables and Robert Thompson, who have been living anonymously with new identities since being released from a life sentence for the kidnap, torture and murder of two-year-old James 25 years ago, when they were aged 10. 

The maximum sentence for the contempt of court offence is two years’ imprisonment, though the offence can also be punished with a fine.

Malone revealed she had received a High Court summons and asked for help finding a lawyer in a post on social media in January. Malone wrote on Facebook: “I need a lawyer asap!!!! Iv been committed to the high court!!!”

In another post she wrote: “Iv had a wonderful day till i opened my front door 5mins ago!!! The high court have served me!! (sic)

The attorney general’s office confirmed it had sent a summons to Malone.

At the time, a spokesperson said: “The Law Officers will review contempt of court allegations made to them, but they cannot comment on the nature of any investigations.

“The Law Officers remind everyone that an injunction is in place which prevents publication of any images or information claiming to identify anyone as Jon Venables or Robert Thompson.”