Jeremy Bamber's prison category status appeal rejected

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Jeremy Bamber in 1985 and in a later, undated photograph

Murderer Jeremy Bamber has lost his attempt to bring legal action over his maximum security prisoner status.

Bamber, 59, is serving life in prison for killing five members of his family at White House Farm, Essex, in 1985.

He had sought permission to challenge a decision taken in March by a Prison and Probation Service director not to downgrade him from a Category A inmate.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Julian Knowles confirmed a judgement made at an oral hearing on 12 October.

Bamber was found guilty of murdering his adoptive parents Nevill and June, both 61, his sister Sheila Caffell, 26, and her six-year-old twins Daniel and Nicholas at the family farm near Tolleshunt D'Arcy.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Bamber has battled against his conviction for more than 30 years

Category A prisoners are considered the most dangerous to the public and held in maximum security conditions.

Lawyers for Bamber argued the director's decision to keep him in that category was "unreasonable", but Mr Justice Knowles rejected this and refused permission to bring the challenge.

Bamber's barrister, Matthew Stanbury, had argued that an independent psychologist's report had concluded he had met the test for downgrading.

He had also "served 35 years without ever having an oral hearing, and the passage of time means that a risk assessment is more difficult without a face-to-face assessment".

Mr Justice Knowles said he agreed that the director was "wrong" to say the psychologist had concluded that an assessment of risk was 'impossible'.

"She [the psychologist] did not say that, and her report cannot reasonably be read to have reached that conclusion," the judgment says.

But the judge concluded: "When the director's decision is read as a whole it is plain that he had the right question in mind and that the reasons he gave for refusing to recategorize the claimant were ones which were reasonably open to him on the evidence."

Bamber has launched a number of attempts to clear his name since he was convicted in 1986.

He had an appeal against his convictions dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2002, and also had a High Court challenge to the Criminal Cases Review Commission's (CCRC) refusal to refer his case for another appeal rejected in 2012.

Bamber is in the process of pursuing a fresh application to the CCRC.

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