Gay groups have expressed dismay at a media frenzy over allegations that one of Jamie Bulger’s killers, Robert Thompson, is gay.

Thompson, who abducted and murdered toddler Jamie Bulger, with his friend Jon Venables when they were ten years old in 1993, is now believed to be living with a gay lover.

The Daily Mail and The Sun reported this week that Thompson, now 23, has been given permission by his probation service minders to live with his homosexual lover, after telling his partner about his criminal, secret past.

Sources told the papers that he has been in a steady homosexual relationship for several months. The Daily Mail appeared to suggest his sexuality may be due to spending most of his teenage years in a male environment.

Gay groups questioned the editorial decision to run the story, a spokesman for Stonewall, the gay rights charity said: “Various reasons people turn out to be gay, living in a male environment is unlikely to be one of them.

“If it were the case then all prisoners would be gay, together members of the armed forces as well as monks and nuns, clearly some are and some aren’t.”

Commenting on whether the story was in the public interest, the spokesman said: “It’s totally irrelevant what his sexuality is, he committed a crime at a young age, now presumably trying live a normal. I question whether such a big splash would have been made if he had moved in with a girlfriend. Is it in the public interest for people to know that he is gay?”

“His sexuality is irrelevant,” said Peter Tatchell of the human rights group OutRage! “There is no legitimate public interest grounds for making an issue of his sexual orientation when, how and why his sexuality became apparent is nobodies business. It clearly plays no part of an ongoing investigation.”

Both killers had their identities changed when they were freed from a detention centre in 2001 after an eight year sentence and are not allowed to contact each other. Their identities are protected by a High Court injunction.

Spokesmen from the Daily Mail and The Sun were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.