THE jury foreman in the Jamie Bulger murder trial today called for the toddler's killers to be left alone and said: "I pray they are no longer a danger."

And retired church warden Alan Barry, 62, who criticised the decision to release Robert Thompson and Jon Venables after eight years, said he still broke out in a cold sweat when he saw young children alone on the streets of Blackburn.

Mr Barry, 62, of St Martin's Drive, Blackburn, also spoke of his fears for his own grandson, who was James Bulger's age at the time of the trial.

Killers Thompson and Venables, both ten, were found guilty of abducting and murdering two-year-old James after finding him in a shopping precinct in Bootle in Merseyside in 1993.

The pair were jailed 'at her majesty's pleasure' after a trial at Preston Crown Court later the same year but are believed to have been released on licence with strict conditions last week after serving eight years in a secure unit. Speaking for the first time about the case, Mr Barry, who has recently retired from his job as church warden at Immanuel, Parish Church, Feniscowles, said: "I thought they would have got longer and I would have at least liked to see them serve eight years in an adult prison, as that would have been more fitting for a crime of this nature, but I pray to God they have been rehabilitated and are no longer a danger to society. "Although I think the sentence was too short the last thing I would want to see would be for them to be hunted down and lynched -- I would not wish that on anybody, although I can understand the anger people on Merseyside feel.

"I just feel sorry for the Bulger family who are having to relive their grief. Throughout the trial they have conducted themselves very gracefully, which I think I would find very difficult in the same position."

Mr Barry confessed how he poured out his emotions to his parish priest every night of the five-week trial.

Mr Barry said: "The trial was a very emotional experience for me because of my grandson, who was the same age as young Jamie. I kept thinking every day as I sat there, what if that had been him?

"Every night on my way home I used to go into my church and just sit down and pray and pour out my feelings to the priest, we often both ended up in tears.

"Whenever I go shopping in Blackburn and see toddlers out on their own it still terrifies me and brings me out in a cold sweat. I start to panic and have a funny turn as I think 'where are the parents?'."