'L&O' game with image of slain boy pulled


LONDON -- A video game based on the "Law & Order" TV series has been pulled off British shelves after the mother of a murdered toddler spotted an image of her son in the game, the BBC reported Wednesday.

The picture featured in "Law & Order: Double or Nothing" was similar to security camera footage of 2-year-old James Bulger being led away from his mother shortly before he was tortured and killed by two boys in 1993, the BBC said.

The haunting video, which showed Bulger clasping the hand of one his 10-year-old killers as both left a shopping mall in 1993, has often been rebroadcast, but a spokesman for Bulger's mother said the image should not be treated as if it were public property.

"It dehumanizes James, and it seems like his death enters into some kind of myth or legend," spokesman Chris Johnson told the BBC.

"To her, it is very real and an ever-present emotion that she lives with every day of her life," he said.

The game's distributor, Global Software Publishing Ltd., said that it had been made aware of an image "that may cause offense" and had withdrawn the game from sale.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both 10, lured James away from a shopping center in Bootle, near Liverpool in northeastern England, as the youngster waited outside a butcher's shop for his mother.

They walked him to a railway line and battered him to death with bricks and an iron bar, then left his body on the track to be cut in half.

Convicted of murder, the pair spent eight years in youth custody before being released in 2001 with new identities.

The game, which was developed by Legacy Interactive Inc., follows the format of the TV series, allowing people to play as the first half of the game as a criminal investigator and the second half as a prosecutor.