An undated police handout photo of Jon Venables one of the child killers of toddler James Bulger. File picture: AP

London - An actress who retweeted a photo said to be of one of James Bulger’s killers has been summoned to appear before a High Court judge for alleged contempt.

It is illegal to disclose the new names or distribute photos of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson because they were granted lifelong anonymity after their release in June 2001.

But Tina Malone, who starred in the Channel 4 series Shameless, revealed on Friday that she is being hauled before the courts for retweeting an image purporting to be of Venables a year ago.

In a series of panicky messages on her Facebook page, Miss Malone said: ‘Iv [sic] been committed to the high court!!! Omg anyone know any free legal lawyer for me asap!!!! Im serious!!! Becoz i retweeted something!!’

James Bulger was beaten to death by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson on a railway line in Liverpool, England, in February 1993. File picture: AP/PA

Miss Malone, 55, has been an ambassador of the James Bulger Memorial Trust, set up in the murdered toddler’s name, and was close to his mother Denise Fergus. The actress is said to have retweeted a picture supposedly of Venables, now 36, and his girlfriend soon after he was jailed for 40 months for possessing indecent images of children last February. An injunction prevents the media or individuals from publishing images in newspapers or online that claim to be of Venables and Thompson, whether or not it is them. Breaching the order carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and an unlimited fine.

At the time Miss Malone said she ‘didn’t have a clue’ that what she had done was illegal.

She told the Daily Star: ‘What are you going to do... prosecute me for posting a picture? I didn’t realise. I am not au fait with the law.’

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed papers had been served relating to the tweet, saying: ‘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.’ A date is yet to be set for the hearing.

Five years ago two men were given suspended prison terms for posting images they claimed were of Venables and Thompson, who were ten when convicted of murdering the toddler in 1993.

Miss Malone, who also starred in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, has previously battled addictions to alcohol and food.

Daily Mail