Murderers lose appeal against whole life tariffs

 
Jeremy Bamber Jeremy Bamber was among the three murderers who lost their appeal

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Britain's most dangerous criminals can be kept behind bars for the rest of their lives, judges at the European Court of Human Rights have ruled.

Killers Jeremy Bamber, Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter had asked the court to rule on whole life sentences.

The murderers said condemning them to die in prison amounts to "inhuman or degrading treatment". They argued all sentences should be regularly reviewed.

The Ministry of Justice said the government welcomed this decision.

Bamber was jailed for shooting five members of his family dead in Essex in 1986.

He has always protested his innocence, claiming his schizophrenic sister shot the victims before turning the gun on herself at their farmhouse at Tolleshunt D'Arcy.

Peter Moore, from Kinmel Bay in Conwy county, was convicted of murdering four men for his sexual gratification and Douglas Vinter, of Normanby, Teesside, killed both his wife and a work colleague.

Start Quote

We argued vigorously that there are certain prisoners whose crimes are so appalling that they should never become eligible for parole”

End Quote Ministry of Justice

The trio's legal team had argued that any sentence under which the offender's rehabilitation cannot lead to a review of release breaches articles three, five and seven of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The men lost their appeal to the court that whole life tariffs condemning prisoners to die in jail amounted to "inhuman or degrading treatment".

The judges ruled that the whole life tariff is not "grossly disproportionate" and in each case London's High Court had "decided that an all-life tariff was required, relatively recently and following a fair and detailed consideration".

Lawyers representing Vinter plan to appeal against the ruling on his case.

In a statement released by his supporters, Bamber said: "If the state wishes to have a death penalty, then they should be honest and re-introduce hanging.

"Instead, this political decision that I must die in jail is the death penalty using old age or infirmity as the method.

"It is a method whereby I'm locked in a cell until I'm dead - no matter if it should take 70 or 80 years to happen. I shall be dead the next time I leave jail."

'Quite extraordinary'

Bamber said both the trial judge and the Lord Chief Justice set his minimum tariff as 25 years.

"Quite why the home secretary felt that I should die in jail when the judges felt otherwise is a mystery," he said, adding that it was "quite extraordinary" that the European Court felt it was "reasonable" for him to die in jail.

Following the ruling, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said the government "strongly welcomes this decision".

He said: "We argued vigorously that there are certain prisoners whose crimes are so appalling that they should never become eligible for parole.

"We are pleased that the European court has upheld the whole life tariff as a legitimate sentence in British courts."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 285.

    275.Tio Terry
    2 Minutes ago
    269.Green Future

    You're right, apologies!

    ----

    Sometimes I am, only sometimes thought :-)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 284.

    @253.
    Mayna
    141 "by using limited resources to keep the prisoner in jail rather that perlong the life of the ill child, has the state not just sanctioned "state death" on the innocent child by proxy?"

    Its a very emotive argument, but a civilized criminal justice system is worth paying for too as it keeps safe from wrong doers and the state. The DP is expensive too unless appeals are not granted

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 283.

    People who say human rights are like a contract completely fail to understand human rights. It is essentially this system that Hitler was running; choosing who has fundamental rights as a human being and who doesn't based on who society liked and who they didn't.

    "Common sense" was also called on of course, as it always is when people lack the intelligence to explain why something should be done.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 282.

    Perhaps this people should be given the option to be euthanised? Most people generally consider that the law should offer this option to those that are sick, but why not help reduce the burden on society with those who are (and should) be in prison for their lives.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 281.

    141 - you are comparing apples with pears surely. There is a prison budget and there is a health budget and there are many other budgets. To say that keeping a prisoner in jail for like rather than executing them will cost the life of a child is a non sequitur and emotional blackmail.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 280.

    So the ECHR make a good decision alongside a bad one.

    Hate filled lunatics to stay inside for life.......excellent.

    Hate filled, fairytale following, bile spouting, convicted terrorist lunatic not to go inside for life..... unbelievable.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 279.

    How many people have been killed in the last decade by those out on licence on a life sentence? To keep the "reformers" happy, let's say that if the mugger is really really sorry for beating the little old lady to death for her pension money, then release him at say 75 or after 20 years, whichever is later, providing prison behaviour is exemplary.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 278.

    45.plasticmanc "hate the thought of having to pay... to house and feed these people"
    Agreed. In other countries prisoners are expected to undertake work in order to cover their food and board, and any assets they have on conviction should also be seized and sold. Longer sentences could become more common if the public were no longer funding inmates to lounge around playing pool and watching TV.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 277.

    It is wrong to kill another human being, whether that be with the spanner in the drawing room or by flicking the switch and applying 10squillion volts. DP is therefore wrong. A life in prison is a very tough sentence, probably worse than the DP. Let the punishment fit the crime I say.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 276.

    251.Mysticalnubnub
    "the problem is, it crushes any hope of reforming. There are a few reasons for imprisonment. One is to protect the public from a killer. Another is to reform the prisoner to incorporate them back into society."

    Aren't some crimes so beyond the pale that any possibility of a second chance - to commit the crime again - is uncountenanceable? Particularly serial killers.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 275.

    269.Green Future

    You're right, apologies!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 274.

    EU Convention on Human Rights:member States promised to secure fundamental civil & political rights,to their own citizens & everyone within their jurisdiction. Wish this court would hear more cases from 'regular' citizens of Europe on the right to be safe from all convicted murderers (full life tariff) & foreign criminals whose protection comes at the expense of regular citizens

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 273.

    " LoisUsher
    Well I never! The ECHR has actually come to a sensible decision! Pity they did not apply such common sense to the extremist imam. He should be booted out forthwith, as any other country would do."

    Not so. All the other 46 signatories of the ECHR must now abide by this ruling should they have people such as AQ in their countries wanted for extradition by states that may use torture.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 272.

    224. Gimmeabreak

    The Brutalisation Hypothesis is an evidence based theory that shows violent crime actually increases in nations and states that have the death penalty. In Canada, for example, there was actually a dramatic drop in violent crime in the years after the death penalty was abolished. This has also been noted in the UK and in the US in States that have abolished the death penality.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 271.

    @187.B R Wombat
    I agree, they should be told they can serve in prison until their victim recovers to full health.
    One good decision form the European Court. Its a pity about the other one leaving us to keep a terrorist in the UK rather than send him away.

  • rate this
    -17

    Comment number 270.

    Good - this wouldn't have happened under Labour though. They would have been out within a week!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 269.

    255.Tio Terry
    247.Green Future

    I think you are confusing the European Union with the European Court of Human Rights, they are not the same thing.
    ---

    No, you've confused my reply with the original posters comment.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 268.

    187 B R Wombat Try sharing your views with people (which of course you cannot becasue they are dead) and families of the murdered.

    If we have no death penalty here (something I personally agree with) there has to be something else for very serious crimes - whole life without parole!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 267.

    If people can't live by society's rules then they should be removed from society. Hanging or imprisonment no problem. Also the European courts should be told to keep out of our affairs. When we want their advice we will ask for it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 266.

    And so they should lose their human rights, they killed another and stopped their human rights. The cheek of even wasting tax payers money on going to Court of Human Rights is disrespectful to their victims and society

 

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