The murderers and rapist appealing their life sentences

Their names are synonymous with violent crimes that dominated newspaper headlines and bulletins at the time they were committed.

Now some of the UK's most dangerous criminals are back in the spotlight as a result of a legal challenge against their life sentences.

Their appeals, at the Court of Appeal, are being seen by some legal observers as a test of the whole-of-life term.

BBC News looks at four of the men hoping to challenge their sentences.

Michael Roberts: The "Bermondsey rapist"

Image caption Roberts evaded arrest for 15 years

The judge at Michael Roberts' trial said the violent rapist and burglar had "terrified" a whole community of south London.

Roberts, who targeted elderly women, was given four life sentences in January for raping three victims, including an 83-year-old woman, and viciously attacking a fourth.

He carried out a string of violent burglaries as well as the sex assaults between December 1988 and June 1990.

Police had long been baffled as to the identity of the rapist, known as the "Bermondsey Beast" and also as "the Praying Rapist" after a victim recalled him crossing himself and uttering part of a Catholic prayer.

He was arrested in 2005 after officers identified a DNA match following a cold case review by Scotland Yard.

Kiaran Stapleton: "Motiveless" murderer

Image caption On his first court appearance Kiaran Stapleton gave his name as "Psycho"

Anuj Bidve was described by his family as a "beautiful son" who was clever and disciplined.

The 23-year-old Lancaster University student had come to England from India to study micro-electronics.

He was shot in the head by Stapleton as he walked through Salford on Boxing Day 2011 on his way to the sales with friends.

The judge who sentenced Stapleton to a minimum term of 30 years said he was a "highly dangerous man" who posed a high risk of serious harm to other people.

Stapleton, who was sentenced in July, told magistrates his name was "Psycho Stapleton" in his first court appearance.

Throughout his trial for the apparently motiveless crime Stapleton regularly grinned and laughed. The court was told he had also laughed as he stood over the body of his victim.

Danilo Restivo: "Hair-in-hand killer"

Image caption Danilo Restivo was told his murder of Heather Barnett was so "inhuman" he would never be freed

Double murderer Danilo Restivo was found guilty of murdering his neighbour Heather Barnett in Bournemouth in 2002 and teenager Elisa Claps in his native Italy in 1993.

Mrs Barnett, who Restivo bludgeoned with a hammer before cutting her throat, was found with a clump of someone else's hair in one hand and strands of her own under the other. Her trousers and underwear were lowered and her bra cut.

Restivo, who was jailed for life in June 2011, admitted that he had cut women's hair in the past because he liked the touch and smell of it.

He was convicted of murdering Miss Claps in his absence by an Italian court in November 2011.

Her decomposed body was discovered, with her clothes arranged in the same way as Mrs Barnett's, in 2010 in the loft of a church in Potenza, about 225 miles south of Rome.

David Oakes: Ex-partner and daughter murderer

Image caption Oakes carried out the murders hours before a custody battle over his daughter

At his trial for murdering his ex-partner and their two-year-old child the court heard David Oakes was a "domineering" man who was "fuelled by jealousy" over the end of his relationship with Christine Chambers and the limited access he had to their daughter Shania.

He subjected Miss Chambers to a degrading assault over several hours, the court was told, and while drunk and on cocaine, he shot his daughter at point-blank range and shot his ex-partner three times, before turning the gun on himself in a failed attempt to take his own life.

The judge, who sentenced Oakes to a whole-life term, described him as a "bullying and controlling man" who had frequently inflicted violence on Miss Chambers during the six years of their relationship.

Essex Police said in addition to his violent attack on Miss Chambers, Oakes had also tried to blame her for her daughter's death in an attempt to escape justice.

Det Ch Insp Godfrey O'Toole called Oakes a "contemptible individual".

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