James Bulger's killer Jon Venables could be freed from jail by Christmas after being granted a two-day parole hearing.
Venables and Robert Thompson kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old Bulger in 1993 when they were both aged 10.
The men were released in 2001 on licence for life, but Venables has been recalled to prison twice, in 2010 and 2017, after being found to be in possession of indecent images of children.
The murderer is said to have been told that his case will be heard on Tuesday, November 14 and Wednesday, November 15, but will not be heard in public.
Venables and Robert Thompson kidnapped, tortured and killed two-year-old Bulger in 1993 when they were both aged 10
The parole panel will see three people cross-examine Venables in private with evidence from several prison sources, including officers who have day-to-day contact with him, his probation officer and psychiatrists.
Victim impact statements made by Bulger's mother Denise Fergus and father Ralph Bulger will also be read to the panel.
The parents have both pleaded with the Parole Board to reject Venables' bid to be released on licence.
Addressing parole chiefs, Fergus said: “If you let him free, you could be ruining the lives of another family like ours.
“When you look at Venables’ file just remember what he is capable of. He killed my son James, has reoffended time and time again and I have no doubt he would kill another child if he is released."
It comes as new parole reform proposals by former Justice Secretary Dominic Raab come before Parliament which mean it is likely to be the last time Venables can appeal.
If new reform plans are passed, reoffending prisoner like Venables will never go free.
The new Victims and Prisoners Bill will make public safety the sole priority in considering the release of repeat offenders.
Before the decision to make the parole hearing private was announced, Ralph Bulger told The Sun: "If the Justice Secretary is serious on reform then he must allow me to be present at Venables's parole hearing, just as I was at his Old Bailey hearing.
"I want Venables to hear why I believe he should have his parole denied.
"For too long, victims and families have been ignored while authorities put the so-called rights of dangerous criminals first."