IT WASN’T just Jon Venables and Robert Thompson who went on trial for the murder of James Bulger, an entire city was put in the frame.
Liverpool was still struggling with its public image after the rise of the Militant Tendency in the city council.
And the 1993 murder of two-year-old James was just four years after the unfair and now discredited way Liverpool fans had been blamed for the Hillsborough disaster.
But the national media portrayed Liverpool once more as being a “problem” city.
“The city with a murder on its conscience” screamed The Times, and Jonathan Margolis, then writing for the Sunday Times branded Liverpool “self-pity city” – a slur which proved hard to shift.
Ten years later he apologised for the piece, which he described as “one of the rankest anti-Liverpool articles ever to emerge from a Fleet Street always trigger happy for a pot-shot at Merseyside”.
Labour politician Frank Prendergast became city council leader a year after the horrific murder of James.
And he remembers well the pain heaped on the city.
“It devastated a lot of people in Liverpool, and then the papers made it worse, bearing in mind this was a couple of years after Hillsborough.
“All the self pity Liverpool articles... this would not have happened anywhere else.
“They were making out there was a major problem with they way Liverpool people lived and brought up their families, which was just not the case.
“People could not understand, I still can’t understand, how two young kids could do that to another child.
“But the city did not deserve the coverage.
“It was a very dark time and it really hit the morale of the city, and Liverpool did not deserve the flack that it got.”