Beds, Herts & Bucks

Ian McLoughlin gets life term for Graham Buck murder

Graham Buck, back left, with wife Karen, front left, and family
Image caption Graham Buck (back left), pictured with his wife Karen (front left) and family, was murdered in July

A convicted killer who stabbed to death a Good Samaritan in a village in Hertfordshire has been jailed for life.

Ian John McLoughlin, 55, admitted murdering Graham Buck, 66, in Little Gaddesden, last July, while on day release from a murder sentence.

Mr Buck was stabbed when he went to help his neighbour, Francis Cory-Wright, 86, who was being robbed.

McLoughlin, who also has a previous conviction for manslaughter, was told he must serve at least 40 years.

He was on his first day release from HMP Spring Hill where he was serving a life term for the 1992 stab murder of Brighton barman Peter Halls.

Human rights

He had previously been jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of Len Delgatty, 49, in 1984, whom he beat over the head with a hammer.

Sentencing McLoughlin at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney said he was barred from passing a whole-life term because of a European judgment that those sentences were in breach of human rights.

Image caption Ian McLoughlin cannot be freed from prison until he is in his 90s

Mr Justice Sweeney told McLoughlin: "The offence was committed on the day of your first day-release from prison after 21 years in custody, after being in prison for a life sentence for murder in 1992."

The judge went on: "You decided to go to Cory-Wright's home to get money from him by theft or robbery if necessary."

Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, which includes Little Gaddesden, has written to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling calling for an inquiry into how a double murderer could be considered safe for day release.

"At face value it is unbelievable that a man who has committed two brutal murders - on separate occasions - could be deemed safe for day release," he said.

A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesman said Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, was reviewing the decision to allow McLoughlin to be part of the prison day release programme.

In July the MoJ said release on temporary licence was used to prepare prisoners for their eventual release from custody.

The spokesman added that Attorney General Dominic Grieve was considering whether to challenge the new sentence as too lenient.

Stabbed in neck

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Mr Buck's wife, Karen, said: "Graham's death has left a hole in many people's lives. He will be missed but he will not be forgotten.

"Many questions still remain unanswered at this stage and I await the MoJ's inquiry into day release of prisoners with interest."

The court heard McLouglin turned up at Mr Cory-Wright's house claiming to need help setting up a charity supporting elderly ex-offenders.

McLoughlin suddenly grabbed him and demanded to know where he kept his "gold and silver".

He tied Mr Cory-Wright to a bed, stuffed silver family heirlooms into a pillowcase and demanded his bank cards and PIN numbers.

Father-of-three Mr Buck, who lived two doors away from Mr Cory-Wright, went to help him after hearing shouting.

McLoughlin said he was confronted by Mr Buck as he tried to flee Mr Cory-Wright's house and stabbed him in the neck, causing a gaping wound.

The judge said he had no doubt that McLoughlin intended to kill Mr Buck.

He said McLoughlin had been in a rage when he carried out the killing.

"That rage had come about because Cory-Wright had the money he wanted, but wouldn't voluntarily hand it over," he said.

Mr Buck was born in London and lived in Surrey and Sussex before moving to Hertfordshire in 1995.

'Horrific crime'

Since his retirement he had worked as a non-executive director at Aldwyck Housing Association in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire.

He had two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren.

In July, Det Ch Supt Jeff Hill said: "Mr Buck's actions were totally selfless and illustrate a deep sense of community spirit which deserves recognition and respect."

Det Insp Martin Brunning, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, called Mr Buck's murder a "horrific crime".

He said: "Our thoughts are with Graham's family at this time. No-one should lose a loved one in these circumstances."

McLoughlin also admitted robbery for which he was sentenced to eight years, to run concurrently.

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