Jon Venables was jailed indefinitely after killing the two-year-old in 1993 but returned to prison last year after cops found 1,000 child abuse images at his home.

And according to the Daily Star Sunday, Venables has put in a request to leave prison over the festive period.

A source told the newspaper: “He will apply for Christmas leave and early parole – anything to get himself away from other inmates.”

Every inmate, including criminals serving life sentences, can apply to be free over Christmas if they are judged to have met certain criteria.

Some 1,200 prisoners, including people who have been convicted of murder, are allowed to leave on a temporary five-day licence over Christmas each year.

Venables, who abducted, tortured and murdered two-year-old James in Liverpool with his friend Robert Thompson, is hoping to leave if he is no longer considered to be a threat to society.

The friends were just 10 years old when they battered the toddler to death after taking him from a shopping centre in the city.

Venables will be eligible to apply for parole next year having served 13 months of his three-year sentence.

The killer, who lives under a new identity, suffers from depression and anxiety, reports the Daily Star Sunday.

The paper reports he rarely leaves his cell and has a team of guards who closely monitor his security in the prison.

A source continued: "He is not treated as a killer because he has done his time for that sentence. He is a loner who rarely associates with other prisoners. Only a few members of staff know his real identity.”

Both Venables and Thompson threw stones at James and later stamped on him before hiding his body under bricks on a train track.

They were both jailed indefinitely by were released with new identities in 2001, after serving eight years.

Venables was jailed in November last year after cops found he had more than 1,000 incident images of children and he later admitted owning a “paedophile manual”.

It comes as a relative of Thompson sparked fury by putting a photo online showing a child lying on railway lines.

The staged picture of a boy with his eyes closed holding a stuffed toy was shared on Facebook to mock Thompson in a family feud.

The sickening photo, removed after two days, has been blasted by James’s furious dad Ralph Bulger.

He confided to friends: “Posting a photo of a child on a train track is utterly sick. It’s cruel and nasty and pokes fun at how my son died.

"How am I supposed to feel at James being the butt of a social media prank? How dare this family treat my son and his murder with such contempt.”

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