THE mother of James Bulger has told of her greatest regret almost a quarter of a century after the toddler's notorious killing.
The abduction and murder of two-year-old James in Kirkby, Merseyside by two older boys shocked the nation in February 1993.
Now, mum Denise Fergus has spoken out about how she relives her son's final hours every day.
Denise said that she still blames herself for taking her eyes off James and letting go of his hand to pay for some pork chops.
She added that her final hours spent with her son will "be etched on my mind until my dying day".
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who were 10 when they murdered James, were jailed for life but later released with new identities in 2001.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Denise said: "People often ask me if I blame myself for what happened that day.
"For taking my eyes off him for that split second; for letting go of his hand as I looked for my purse; for not seeing what the CCTV footage later showed: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson beckoning James away from my side and out of the shop at 3.39pm.
"The answer is: of course I do. There aren't the words to describe how I still feel now, every day. I was the one who let go of his hand; I was the one there meant to protect him."
Denise added that her biggest regret was not turning right out of the butcher's shop as she went to search for her son, as she would have been able to his abduction taking place.
"If I had taken the right turn and gone around the corner, I would have seen James being led away, just four short minutes after he had left my side, trustingly holding hands with the boys who were about to murder him," she wrote.
"February 12, 1993, was the day I stopped sleeping and I haven't had a full night's rest since."
Earlier this week, the man once known as Jon Venables was charged over indecent images of children for a second time.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed Venables had been charged on Friday but added that his trial would take place in private.
In a statement, CPS said: "The man formerly known as Jon Venables has been charged with offences relating to indecent images of children and will appear in the Crown Court.
"In order that justice can be done, no further details are being released at this stage and the proceedings are subject to reporting restrictions."