April 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 2, 2014
David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers like Ipswich spree killer Steve Wright and Essex’s Jeremy Bamber can be kept in jail for life.
His pledge comes amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year sentences.
The Prime Minister’s comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over whole-life terms.
Last year, after Bamber and two other murderers won an appeal after claiming their sentences amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, the court declared the tariffs in England illegal because they did not allow for a “right to review” .
Bamber was convicted of killing his parents, sister, and her two young children at the family’s farm near Maldon in August 1985, while Wright, of London Road, Ipswich, murdered five sex workers in the town in late 2006.
They are among 49 prisoners serving whole-life terms in England and Wales.
However, ministers believe that they can sidestep the EU ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years. Prisoners would then be able to have their sentences reviewed, and potentially reduced, in the normal way.
Mr Cameron said: “What I think is very clear, there are some people who commit such dreadful crimes that they should be sent to prison and life should mean life.
“Whatever the European court has said, we must put in place arrangements to make sure that can continue.”
Tory home office minister Damian Green has been leading a committee considering how the influence of the Strasbourg court can be curtailed.
A government source told the a national newspaper: “The European Court of Human Rights seems to be making decisions a million miles away from what the vast majority of the public think.
“They don’t want any possibility of the most horrible of criminals walking the streets again, and this plan could be a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.”