List of prisoners with whole-life orders
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This is a list of prisoners who have received a whole-life order, sometimes called a whole-life tariff, through some mechanism in jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. From the introduction of the whole-life order system in 1983 until an appeal by a prisoner named Anthony Anderson in 2002 a whole-life tariff was set by government ministers. Thereafter only a judicial body could decide to impose such an order.
Orders have been reportedly issued in approximately 100 cases since introduction in 1983, although some of these prisoners have since died in custody, or had their sentences reduced on appeal. As of 2017, there are believed to be at least 75 prisoners currently serving whole life sentences in England and Wales. These include some of Britain's most notorious criminals, including the serial murderer Rosemary West.
A number of these prisoners, including the "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe and Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley have died in prison since being sentenced. There are also some prisoners, including police killer David Bieber, whose sentences have been reduced on appeal.
Some of Britain's most notorious murderers are not among those serving whole-life sentences. These include convicted child killers Roy Whiting and Ian Huntley. Both murderers have been issued 40-year minimum terms by the High Court, which means that they are likely to remain imprisoned for most if not all of their remaining lives, while many other prisoners are in a similar position due to the length of their minimum terms and the age they will be when they can be considered for parole.
Nor is Harry Roberts, who served 48 years prior to his release in 2014, after receiving a minimum sentence of 30 years included in the list. In the case of Roberts the Parole Board, not the Home Secretary or a judge, were the entity responsible for his continued incarceration beyond the minimum. Other criminals such as David Copeland have had an initial minimum sentence of 30 years reset to a minimum of 50 years in a subsequent judicial review of their sentencing. Copeland can only be released after 50 years if considered not to be dangerous at that point, when he will be 73 years of age.
Several prisoners serving whole life sentences have challenged the legality of whole life sentences in the High Court or European Court of Human Rights. These include Jeremy Bamber and Gary Vinter, whose second legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights was successful, although the High Court later ruled that whole life sentences could still be issued as long as they were reviewed within 25 years of being issued. Arthur Hutchinson has challenged his sentence at least four times in both the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights, but has been unsuccessful each time. A fresh legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights is now pending from Jamie Reynolds.
Despite the fact that ministers can no longer set sentences they still retain the power to release a prisoner during their sentences on compassionate grounds, normally exercised only when a prisoner is terminally ill.
Imposed by Home Secretaries
Successive Home Secretaries are known to have imposed whole life orders for at least 23 murderers between 1983 and 2002 (note, this list is incomplete). In 2002, a former Junior Home Office Minister during the 1980s, Douglas Hogg, admitted to setting 600 tariffs between 1986 and 1989 on behalf of the Home Secretary.
|John Straffen||1952||2007||Britain's longest serving prisoner, who spent 55 years in prison until his death. Straffen was convicted of murdering two pre-teen girls in July 1951. The following year, he escaped for a four-hour period and was convicted of murdering another girl during this short spell at large, although he long proclaimed his innocence. Straffen was reprieved from a death sentence owing to learning difficulties, and instead remained in prison for the rest of his life. He died, aged 77, at Frankland prison in November 2007. For the final five years of his life, he was the oldest prisoner known to be serving a whole life-tariff, following the death of Archibald Hall.|
|Ian Brady||Moors murderer||1966||2017||One of the Moors Murderers who was convicted, in May 1966, of murdering three children between 1963 and 1965. He was convicted just six months after the abolition of the death penalty, and less than two years after final executions in Britain. His trial judge said it was unlikely that Brady could ever be rehabilitated and suitable for parole, although that the same was not necessarily true of Hindley once removed from Brady's influence.
With accomplice Myra Hindley, he buried the children in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor. From 1985 until his death he was held in a mental hospital and was on long-term hunger strike, which led to him being force-fed through a tube. In 2001, he published a book on serial killing. The body of one of his victims, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, remains undiscovered on the Moor, despite Brady's and Hindley's own heavily guarded efforts to locate the remains themselves after they admitted two further murders in 1986; they did, however, guide police to the buried body of 16-year-old Pauline Reade in 1987.
In 2006, Brady wrote to Keith Bennett's mother to claim he remembered enough to be taken to within 20 yards of the grave, but was not permitted to do so.
|Myra Hindley||Moors murderer||1966||2002||The other of the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady's girlfriend and accomplice who was involved in all five murders with Brady. She was convicted of two of three murders which were detected in 1965, and of being an accessory in the third murder, as she was not present when Brady committed the murder. The convictions of Brady and Hindley came just six months after the abolition of the death penalty, and less than two years after the last execution in Britain - although more than 10 years had passed since the last execution of a woman in Britain. In 1986, she and Brady confessed to two more murders and returned to the moors to help police find the body of one of the victims, although the final body has still not been found.
Hindley's trial judge recommended she should serve at least 25 years in prison, feeling that unlike Brady there was a possibility that Hindley could be rehabilitated and suitable for parole - once removed from Brady's influence. The 25-year minimum term was endorsed in 1982 by the Lord Chief Justice. By this stage, reports suggested that Hindley was rehabilitating in prison and had found religion and rejected Brady and her past, but her tariff was increased to 30 years in 1985 and, finally, to a whole-life tariff in 1990, although she was not informed of the whole-life tariff until December 1994. In 1986, she and Brady both confessed to two additional murders and helped the police locate one of the bodies the following year.
Hindley's supporters, including penal reformer Lord Longford, journalist David Astor and prison governor Peter Timms, claimed that the increase in Hindley's sentence was the response of a succession of Home Secretaries to public opinion, as there was widespread media and public opposition to Hindley ever being released, and similarly widespread doubt as to whether her reported remorse and rehabilitation was genuine - the fact that she had not admitted the two additional murders until 20 years into her sentence further strengthened the argument of those who felt that her remorse was nothing more than an attempt to boost her chances of parole. Relatives of the Moors Murders victims were at the centre of a campaign to keep Hindley imprisoned and several of them vowed to kill her if she was ever paroled.
Hindley subsequently made three appeals against the whole life tariff, but each appeal was unsuccessful, and she died in jail at the age of 60 in November 2002, less than two weeks before a long-anticipated law lords' ruling which could potentially have secured her freedom. The question as to whether Hindley should ever be released prompted more debate than that of any other prisoner of notoriety, with some high-profile backing from the House of Lords, but vitriol from the press and the public, as well as the families of her victims. Lord Longford, who died just over a year before Hindley, regularly condemned the media for their "exploitation" of Ann West, mother of victim Lesley Ann Downey, who gave regular newspaper and television interviews to argue against any suggestion of Hindley ever being released from prison, and vowed to kill Hindley if she ever was released.
|Donald Neilson||Black Panther||1976||2011||The Black Panther, nicknamed for wearing a black balaclava, shot dead three postmasters during robberies in various areas of the country, then abducted a 17-year-old heiress from her Shropshire home. He attempted to ransom the heiress, but her body was found two months later in a drain in Staffordshire. He was convicted in July 1976 after being caught when two police officers he took hostage overpowered him in December 1975. In 2008, Neilson lost an appeal to have his tariff reduced to 30 years. He remained in prison until his death three years later at the age of 75, having served 35 years.|
|Trevor Hardy||The Beast of Manchester||1976||2012||Trevor Joseph Hardy murdered three teenage girls between December 1974 and March 1976. Janet Lesley Stewart, 15, was murdered on New Year's Eve 1974 and buried in a shallow grave in Newton Heath, North Manchester. She had been stabbed. Wanda Skala, 17, was murdered in July 1975 on Lightbowne Road, Moston. She was hit over the head with a paving stone and sexually assaulted. Sharon Mosoph, 17, was murdered in March 1976, and dumped in the Rochdale Canal at Failsworth, Oldham. She had been strangled and mutilated after walking by when Hardy was attempting to burgle a shopping centre at night. He was suspected of committing other murders. At the height of the hunt for the serial killer, 23,000 people were stopped and searched. The case is not widely known and only one independent publication exists which covers the case.
Trevor Hardy was arrested for the murders of Wanda Skala and Sharon Mosoph during 1976. In August 1976 he confessed to both murders and also to that of Janet Lesley Stewart – who until then had been a missing person. Despite the alibis provided by his girlfriend Sheilagh Farrow, Hardy was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment in May 1978. He remained in prison until his death 36 years later, by which time he was one of the longest serving prisoners in Britain.
|Robert Maudsley||Hannibal the Cannibal||1977||Robert John Maudsley (born June 1953) killed four people. He committed three of these murders in prison after receiving a life sentence for a single murder in the mid 1970s. He was alleged to have eaten part of the brain of one of three men he killed in prison, which earned him the nickname "Hannibal the Cannibal" among the British press. He committed his first murder by strangling labourer John Farrell after he allegedly showed him pictures of children he abused and was declared not fit to stand trial and sent to Broadmoor in 1973. In 1977 he and David Cheeseman took fellow patient David Francis hostage and tortured him to death and as a result was convicted of manslaughter and sent to Wakefield prison. At Wakefield in July 1978 he killed two fellow prisoners, luring Salney Darwood into his cell and slitting his throat and then smashing Bill Roberts head against a wall at a later time, this time being convicted of double murder at his trial in 1979.
He has served much of his sentence in solitary confinement to prevent him from attacking or killing any more inmates, some of it at Parkhurst prison, but mostly at Wakefield prison in a cell said to resemble Hannibal Lecter's in the film The Silence of the Lambs with cardboard furniture. He became Britain's longest-serving prisoner after the death of Ian Brady in May 2017.
|Archibald Hall||Killer Butler or Monster Butler||1978||2002||The Killer Butler or Monster Butler, so named as he committed his murders while working in service to members of the British aristocracy as a butler. Hall, also known as Roy Fontaine, was a Glaswegian thief and confidence trickster with numerous convictions and prison sentences by the time he committed his first murder, of an ex-cellmate, whom he shot and buried after an argument over some jewellery stolen from Hall's employer. Hall moved to London and began serving an elderly ex-MP and his wife, and with accomplice Michael Kitto, he killed and buried them both after late-night plans to rob them were disturbed. They then killed a female acquaintance and dumped her body in a barn after she refused to destroy a fur coat which was potentially incriminating evidence, and lastly Hall murdered his half-brother, a convicted child molester who was asking too many questions, before beginning a journey to Scotland with the intention of again burying the body. Having stopped at a hotel for the night when the weather became too hazardous for driving, Hall and Kitto were caught when the hotelier, concerned that the two suspicious-looking guests might not pay their bill, called the police. They found the body in Hall's car boot, and Hall later showed them the three gruesome burial sites.
After trials in London and Edinburgh, Hall received four life sentences and Kitto three at their trial in May 1978, with one judge recommending that Hall should never be freed. This recommendation was upheld when the list of confirmed whole-life tariff prisoners was published, and Hall was the oldest prisoner on the list. He publicly requested the right to die in 1995, and did so of a stroke in 2002, while still in prison. At 78, he was one of the oldest prisoners in Britain. Three years earlier, he had published his autobiography.
|John Childs||1979||John Childs was convicted of the murder of six people in contract killings which were committed between 1974 and 1978; he implicated two others and they were convicted in 1980, but they were released on appeal in 2003 after his evidence was called into question. He murdered Terence Eve in 1974, Robert Brown in 1975, George Brett and his 10-year-old son Terry Brett later on in 1975, Fred Sherwood in 1978 and Ronald Andrews later on in 1978 and was jailed in December 1979, with the murders being committed by shooting and stabbing. He confessed to a journalist in 1998 of five more murders while in prison, he appealed against his conviction in 2014 and his whole life sentence in 2016 but was rejected each time on account of his crimes being "exceptionally serious".|
|Dennis Nilsen||Muswell Hill Murderer||1983||2018||A civil servant and Army Veteran who murdered and dismembered 15 young men at his homes in North London, storing the body parts inside and around the residences. Nilsen was arrested after workmen investigating a blocked and odorous drain found human flesh. Nilsen's trial judge originally recommended a 25-year minimum sentence in November 1983, but successive Home Secretaries decided that he should never be released from prison. The November 2002 law lords' ruling meant that Nilsen could have been released from prison as early as 2008; however, this did not transpire and he remained imprisoned until his death. Nilsen was also denied the right to publish his autobiography in addition to music and poetry from prison.|
|Arthur Hutchinson||1984||A fugitive who in 1983 gatecrashed a wedding reception at a house in Sheffield shortly after the bride and groom had left and stabbed to death the bride's father, mother and brother, before raping her sister at knifepoint. Police quickly labelled him as the killer after identifying a handprint on a champagne bottle and a bitemark in a piece of cheese. He was already on the run from answering a charge of violent rape and had previous convictions for offences of violence, indecent assault and dishonesty. He was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 18 years in September 1984. However, he remains in prison more than 30 years on, having been issued with a whole-life tariff by the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan. Hutchinson has since appealed against this ruling twice through the High Court, but the court upheld the decision of the Home Secretary on both occasions, meaning he is likely to die in prison. Appeals to the European Court of Human Rights in February 2015 and January 2017 were also unsuccessful, with the court's Grand Chamber ruling that whole life sentences could still be issued provided they were reviewed within 25 years.|
|Jeremy Bamber||1986||In October 1986, he was found guilty of shooting dead his adoptive parents, sister and six-year-old twin nephews at the family farmhouse in Essex 14 months earlier, in order to claim a six-figure inheritance while also laying evidence to suggest his sister, a known schizophrenic, had committed the murders before killing herself.
His trial judge said that he found the idea of ever seeing Bamber free again "difficult to foresee", and advised that he should serve at least 25 years behind bars before release could even be considered. Before the law lords' ruling in November 2002, Bamber was told by at least one Home Secretary that his life sentence would mean life. He has continued to protest his innocence but all appeals against his convictions have so far been unsuccessful.
|Victor Miller||1988||A predator who abducted, sexually assaulted and battered to death a 14-year-old boy from Hagley in Worcestershire in February 1988. He confessed after being arrested for an unrelated crime soon afterwards and led detectives to the body. Police later revealed they believed Miller was responsible for almost 30 unsolved sexual assaults. In court later that year, he confessed openly to the killing and asked for the maximum sentence available. The trial judge who sentenced Miller in November 1988 recommended that Miller should serve at least 25 years in prison and could have been considered for parole in 2013. but Miller has since asked that the appropriate authorities not consider him for release at any point in the future, and therefore wishes to die in prison. Miller's trial judge had also expressed doubt as to whether it would ever be safe to release him.|
|John Duffy||Railway Killer||1988||The Railway Killer, who attacked numerous women in the south of England, raping all of them and murdering three, before revolutionary psychological profiling helped police to catch him, although they got no nearer the accomplice they knew Duffy worked with. He was initially sentenced to life with a recommended 30-year minimum sentence for two murders and seven rapes which could have seen him paroled in 2018. However, at some stage afterwards, at least one home Secretary ruled that Duffy's life sentence should mean life.
After 12 years in prison, Duffy went on a conscience-clearing exercise, admitting to a third killing of which he had been originally acquitted, and implicating schoolfriend David Mulcahy as his accomplice. He also revealed his part in countless other rapes, for which he received a further 12 years. After Duffy gave evidence against him, Mulcahy was jailed for life for three murders and seven rapes in 2001 but is not believed to be among the prisoners who have been issued with a whole life tariff.
|Anthony Arkwright||1989||Arkwright was arrested after he hacked and battered to death three people, including his elderly grandfather, a two-day killing spree in South Yorkshire during August 1988 when aged 21, which means he is likely to be the youngest offender to have been issued with a whole life tariff by any of the appropriate authorities. He was convicted of all three murders and sentenced to life imprisonment the following year. He was also suspected of a fourth murder committed around the same time but never charged.|
|Mark Robinson||1989||Mark Robinson killed Patricia Anne Wagner at the age of 17 after she threatened to tell his mother about the affair the two were having, to which Robinson responded by strangling her. When he was released in 1989, he met Sharon Morley in Wakefield, with the two moving to Billingham shortly after, however Sharon wanted to move back to Wakefield which caused arguments. On 19 September 1989 he discovered a photo of her former boyfriend and in the argument that followed, he beat and stabbed her to death. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at his trial and was later issued with a whole-life tariff.|
|Victor Castigador||1990||2017||A Filipino illegal immigrant who led a gang of robbers on a grudge attack at a London amusement arcade where he himself worked. Four members of staff were tied up, locked in a cage within the vault before being doused in white spirit and set alight. Two died, two suffered serious burns. Castigador received an initial 25-year tariff from his trial judge which was duly extended to a whole life tariff, but the November 2002 law lords' ruling means that he could have been released from prison as early as 2015 (by which time he would have been 61 years old) if the parole board decided he was no longer a danger to the public, however Castigador was charged with murder on 20 June 2016 after murdering a fellow inmate. He admitted the murder and was sentenced to another whole-life tariff in October. He died in Woodhill prison in March 2017. One of his teenage accomplices was sentenced to life with a recommended minimum of 20 years; a subsequent appeal against this recommendation at the High Court was rejected.|
|Malcolm Green||1991||Malcolm Green was jailed for life in 1971 for the brutal murder of a Cardiff prostitute. He spent 18 years in prison before being released on parole in 1989. Soon afterwards, he bludgeoned to death a young tourist from New Zealand. Green dismembered the body, wrapped it in plastic bags, and dumped it in different places along a road in South Wales. He was sentenced to life again in October 1991, with a recommendation that he should serve a minimum of 25 years, but was given a whole-life tariff by the Home Secretary.|
|Colin Ireland||Gay Slayer||1993||2012||The Gay Slayer, who set about achieving a New Year's resolution to become a serial killer by targeting patrons of a public house frequented by gay men. Ireland pretended to be homosexual in order to be taken to each of his victims' homes, where he took advantage of their desire for S&M activity to truss, torture and murder them, often then robbing them to cover his travelling expenses as he was unemployed. He was able to continue as police found initial difficulty in linking the killings to one perpetrator. Ireland was caught when he visited police to try and explain his sighting on closed-circuit television with his final victim, however his fingerprint was subsequently matched to one found at the man's flat. He confessed to the other murders while in custody and pleaded guilty to all charges in court. His original recommended tariff was never publicised. Ireland remained in prison for nearly 20 years until his death on 21 February 2012 at the age of 57.|
|Colin Hatch||1994||2011||A paedophile who was convicted of sexual assault on boys in 1991 and 1992 but jailed for only three years after it was decided he was not dangerous enough to be held involuntarily in a Secure Hospital, against the advice of the psychiatrist. He was paroled early and committed the sexually motivated murder of seven-year-old Sean Williams in summer 1993, for which he received a whole-life tariff; Judge Lowry said it was "not possible to envisage" a time when Hatch could be released safely, so "life should mean life". He remained imprisoned until his death in February 2011; he was found dead in his cell and it was reported that he had been murdered by another prisoner. His killer was convicted robber Damien Fowkes, who also wounded another child killer, Ian Huntley - whose crime was far more widely reported, but who did not receive a whole life sentence.|
|Robert Black||1994||2016||A paedophile who abducted, raped and killed four girls aged between 5 and 11 years between 1982 and 1986 before dumping all three at roadsides hundreds of miles from their homes. He was already serving a life sentence for a 1990 attempted abduction when he was convicted of three murders (and one further abduction of a girl who survived) in 1994, and the trial judge recommended a minimum term of 35 years which would have kept him in prison until at least 2029 and the age of 82. However, at least one subsequent Home Secretary went on to rule that Black's life sentence should mean life. Black was also mentioned by the police and media as a suspect in the cases of other murdered and missing children who died or disappeared during the 1970s and 1980s, including the disappearances of Genette Tate and April Fabb, but questioning of him would prove inconclusive; no bodies have ever been found in these cases and the files remain open. In 2011 he was convicted of the murder of Jennifer Cardy a nine-year-old girl in 1981 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died on 12 January 2016 in HMP Maghaberry Northern Ireland of natural causes at the age of 68, weeks before he was expected to have been charged with the murder of Genette Tate - who disappeared in August 1978 and whose body was never found.|
|Rosemary West||1995||Convicted in November 1995 of the murder of ten women and girls at her home in Gloucester, including one of her daughters and a step-daughter, between 1970 and 1987. Her husband, Frederick West, committed suicide in jail before he could stand trial for a total of 12 murders (two of which occurred just before the couple met in 1968). Her trial judge recommended that she should never be released. The Lord Chief Justice later ruled that West should serve a minimum of 25 years, but the new Home Secretary Jack Straw ruled in 1997 that West should never be released.
Hindley's death in November 2002 left West as the only confirmed female prisoner on the whole-life tariff register, until the addition of Joanne Dennehy, in 2014. There were news reports as of 2018 of her planning to appeal her whole life sentence.
|Peter Moore||The Man In Black||1996||Moore murdered four men in apparently sexually motivated attacks in Wales. He confessed to police but claimed at trial it was in fact a fictional lover, "Jason", who had killed them. Following his conviction the judge said he would urge the Home Secretary to impose the whole-life tariff; it was revealed in 2011 that he remained subject to this after the press reported he was one of three prisoners challenging the legality of the order before the European Court of Human Rights.|
|Anthony Sawoniuk||1999||2005||Belorussian Nazi collaborator who was convicted of murder committed outside the UK against non-British citizens, during the Holocaust, based on the principle of universal jurisdiction. He is the only person sentenced to a whole life tariff under the 1991 War Crimes Act and was one of the oldest prisoners in Britain when he died aged 84 in Norwich L wing, for elderly men serving life or other long sentences, in 2005. He had been in prison for six years.|
|Harold Shipman||Dr Death||2000||2004||Former general practitioner who was convicted in January 2000 of killing 15 of his patients at his surgery in Hyde, Greater Manchester, in the 1990s, giving them lethal doses of diamorphine. Suspicion was raised in 1998 when the daughter of his last victim found that Shipman had crudely forged her mother's will. Shipman was sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of his trial in January 2000, with the trial judge recommending that he should never be released, and in July 2002 the Home Secretary David Blunkett agreed. An official inquiry shortly afterwards concluded that there was enough evidence to decide that Shipman had killed 215 of his patients, making him Britain's most prolific serial killer, and that he had committed his first murder in 1970 when practising in North Yorkshire. Some reports claimed that he may have committed over 400 murders. Shipman, who never confessed to the murders, hanged himself in his prison cell on 13 January 2004 and the full extent of his crimes will probably be never known as a consequence.
Shipman's suicide may have been motivated by the desire to leave his wife with a full NHS pension of a £100,000 lump-sum payment plus £1,200 per month for life, as his wife would only receive this if he died before the age of 60 (he committed suicide a day before his 58th birthday). Other sources, including David Ramsbottom, the former Inspector of HM Prisons, felt that Shipman's suicide might have been prevented had the appropriate authorities offered him some hope of eventual release from prison - calling instead for indefinite sentences to be issued in the place of whole life sentences, as this would mean that some prisoners might still never be released but would still have a realistic hope that it might eventually happen.
Sentenced by judges
Since the European Court of Human Rights decision, only trial judges and the High Court have had the right to decide that a killer should never be released. In that time, there have been at least 63 instances of trial judges recommending that an offender should never be released.
Several of these prisoners have had their whole-life tariffs reduced on appeal by the High Court.
|Jeremy Wing and Brian Hogg||2002||2015 (Hogg)||Wing and Hogg, 61 and 60 when sentenced, had met in prison for prior child sex crimes. After their release an ex-officer familiar with Hogg spotted him with a young boy. Police raided Wing's home discovering toys, motorised go-karts, water pistols, video games, and footage of the pair abusing children. Both were convicted of two counts of rape so severe the victims would have physical injuries for life. Judge Andrew Patience was of the opinion that neither would ever be safe to release and sentenced them to life imprisonment with a whole life order at Maidstone Crown Court, a very rare sentence for a crime other than murder.|
|Paul Glen||2004||Glen was employed as a hitman and in 2004 had been hired to murder Vincent Smart, but instead he murdered Mr Smart's friend Robert Bogle. After his trial, it was revealed that Glen had a previous conviction for murder, having killed hotelier Ivor Usher in February 1989, and served 13 years of his original life sentence before being paroled in 2002, killing again just two years later.|
|Andrzej Kunowski||2004||2009||A Polish murderer who was imprisoned in England. Kunowski murdered a 12-year-old Macedonian girl, Katerina Koneva, in West London in May 1997, but was not arrested and charged until six years later. Kunowski served just over five years of his life sentence before he died from heart failure in Frankland Prison on 23 September 2009. He was identified by the police as a serial sex offender.|
|Phillip Heggarty||2004||Convicted of murdering his friend, Derek Bennett, in a hammer attack in 2003. He later set fire to a Renault Laguna after placing Bennett's body in it - his body was so severely burnt that it had to be identified by dental records. The trial judge recommended a minimum term of 30 years for Heggarty, but the High Court later ruled that his life sentence must mean life.|
|Thomas McDowell||2004||A psychopath who strangled and cut up a gay trainee rabbi with a rip saw. McDowell throttled Andreas Hinz, then dumped his head, limbs and torso in bin bags in Camden, North London. McDowell suffered abuse as a child and grew up hating homosexuals.|
|Mark Martin||Sneinton Strangler||2005||He killed three homeless women in Nottingham between December 2004 and January 2005, declaring his ambition to become "Nottingham's first serial killer". Two of his accomplices were convicted alongside him in 2005 but received 14 and 25-year recommended minimum terms.|
|Mark Hobson||2005||Murdered his girlfriend Claire Sanderson at their home near Selby in July 2004, before luring her twin sister Diane there and murdering her several days later. He then fled the property and murdered an elderly couple who lived several miles away before going on the run with the whole nation's police looking for him. He was arrested soon after, when he was spotted hiding in bushes near a petrol station in North Yorkshire. Hobson, a binman who had a history of violence, drug addiction and alcoholism, pleaded guilty to all charges in April 2005 and was sentenced to life imprisonment with the judge advising that his life sentence should mean exactly that. Later that year, Hobson applied for a lower tariff to be set on the grounds that he merited some credit for admitting to the crimes at an early opportunity in order to avoid a lengthy trial, but this was rejected by the Lord Chief Justice.|
|William Horncy||2005||Achieved notoriety in 2005 when he was convicted of murdering millionaire Amarjit Chohan as well as Chohan's wife, mother-in-law and two sons in an effort to take over the Chohan family freight business to ship drugs into the UK. The bodies of Chohan's two sons were never found.|
|Kenneth Regan||2005||Achieved notoriety in 2005 as he too was involved, with William Horncy, in the murder of millionaire Amarjit Chohan as well as Chohan's wife, mother-in-law and two sons, whose bodies were never found. He was a former drug dealer who turned to being a Police supergrass to gain himself early release from prison for a prior crime. He murdered Amarjit Chohan and his family in an effort to take over the Chohan family freight business to ship drugs into the UK.|
|Paul Culshaw||2005||2013||A British convicted murderer and sex offender. In 2005, he was found guilty of murdering Clare Benson-Jowry the previous year. After his trial, it was revealed that Culshaw had previous convictions for crimes including rape, attempted murder and indecent assault. Culshaw was found collapsed in his cell at Frankland Prison on 5 February 2013 and died the following day in hospital apparently of natural causes, aged 45.|
|Glyn Dix||2005||Found guilty of murdering his wife Hazel, having stabbed her to death and chopped her body into 16 pieces at their home in Redditch, Worcestershire in the previous year. It was then revealed that he had already been out of prison on life licence following a previous conviction for murdering a woman during the 1970s.|
|Daniel Gonzalez||Freddy Krueger Killer or Mummy's Boy Killer||2006||2007||A drug addict, inspired by horror films, who stabbed to death four randomly chosen people (including three pensioners) over a 24-hour period and tried to kill two more. His mother had previously begged for help from the authorities, chillingly (but rhetorically) asking in one letter if her son might "have to commit murder" before anyone would do something about him. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but was found guilty of murder and attempted murder and given six life sentences, with the judge advising that he should never be released from prison. He committed suicide in a mental hospital just over a year later.|
|Viktor Dembovskis||2006||A Latvian immigrant who raped and murdered a 17-year-old female neighbour as she walked home from school in West London, before fleeing back to Latvia. Dembovskis was deported from Latvia after a joint operation by British and Latvian police. It was revealed that Dembovskis had a string of convictions in Latvia stretching back 25 years including two rapes in the 1990s. Given his appalling record, the trial judge advised that Dembovskis should never be freed – a rare recommendation for someone guilty of a single murder.|
|John McGrady||2006||A convicted rapist who strangled and mutilated 15-year-old neighbour Rochelle Holness in Catford, London, in September 2005 before dumping her dismembered remains in bin bags. He slit his wrists and confessed to his girlfriend after the attack, but his suicide bid was thwarted and he was brought to justice, admitting the murder in court several months later. However, much was made in court of his refusal to co-operate with the police and other authorities, especially on the issue of how or why the teenager was in his flat at the outset, although police remain convinced she did not go willingly. The judge said that McGrady, who had previous convictions for raping and kidnapping women, was a highly dangerous predator and should never be released from prison. The victim's family later criticised heavily the nature of the media's distressingly over-descriptive reporting of the murder. McGrady later appealed for a lower minimum term to be set by the Court of Appeal, but this was rejected in January 2007.|
|Stephen McColl||2006||Underworld figure who worked as an informer for Greater Manchester Police after offering his services was rejected by three other police forces, was convicted of two murders. The victims included a member of his own gang, Michael Doran who ironically, he suspected of being an informer for Manchester police, two months before he became one himself and he tortured and murdered another man, Philip Noakes, after he humiliated him in public. Was convicted in August 2006 of the two murders, while being suspected of a third one, a firefighter in Glasgow.|
|Rahan Arshad||2007||Taxi driver who murdered his wife and three children, who were found dead in their home in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Greater Manchester, in August 2006.|
|Andrew Randall||2007||Murdered his seven-week-old daughter Jessica Randall in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in 2005 after he threw the baby girl headfirst into a settee in their home after abusing her since birth. He told officers he resented her since she was born and he was handed a whole-life tariff as a result at Northampton Crown Court. There were concerns about Jessica's welfare by doctors and staff on the maternity ward, with visits by social services, along with an investigation into her care and death in the weeks before she died. Andrew Randall was blinded completely in one eye from an assault in 2011 by convicted murderer John Jay, who was jailed for 20 years as a result. Randall was attacked in prison again in 2013.|
|David Tiley||2007||Two months after he was released from prison for a double rape, he stabbed to death his disabled fiancée Susan Hale, who suffered from a degenerative brain disorder, and then killed her carer Sarah Merritt when she arrived at their home in Southampton.|
|Michael Smith||2007||Murdered 35-year-old Peter Summers in an attack with a bottle in Stoke-on-Trent in August 2006. He was convicted of this murder nine months later. Smith had been previously convicted of murdering his 18-year-old girlfriend Sheila Deakin in 1975 and spent 30 years in prison, only being released on parole 12 months before he went on to murder Peter Summers.|
|Steve Wright||Suffolk Strangler||2008||Jailed for life in February 2008 after being found guilty of murdering five women, whose bodies were found in the Ipswich area during December 2006. See also: Ipswich serial murders.|
|Levi Bellfield||The Bus-Stop Stalker||2008||Attacked three young women, killing two and seriously injuring the third in sexually motivated attacks in London and Surrey between February 2003 and August 2004. He was first arrested in November 2004, before being re-arrested and charged in March 2006. After he was convicted of these murders, Surrey Police identified him as the prime suspect in the murder of Walton-on-Thames teenager Amanda "Milly" Dowler, whose body was found in Hampshire in September 2002, six months after she went missing on her way home from school. He was charged with the murder three years later, and in June 2011 was found guilty. The trial judge in this case also sentenced Bellfield to life imprisonment with the recommendation that life should mean life. Bellfield has also been identified as a suspect – but never charged – over other unsolved murders and attacks on women in the South-East since the early 1990s. Bellield is currently the only prisoner in the United Kingdom who has been sentenced to two separate whole-life orders for two separate crimes.|
|Douglas Vinter (aka Gary Vinter)||2008||Strangled and murdered his wife Anne White in Normanby, Teesside, on 10 February 2008. He admitted the murder in court two months later, and was already on life licence having spent nine years in prison for the murder of local railway worker Carl Edon in August 1995. Vinter applied to the High Court for lesser minimum term to be set, but this appeal was rejected in June 2009.
Vinter was among the killers who mounted the successful legal challenge against the whole-life tariff in July 2013, with the Court of Appeal later ruling in February 2014 that such sentences were justified provided that they were reviewed within 25 years of being issued.
In February 2016, Vinter was given a third life sentence for the attempted murder of fellow prisoner Lee Newell (also serving a whole-life tariff) at HMP Woodhill, with the judge once again reiterating that he should never be released. In defence, his solicitor argued that the lack of any realistic chance of release from prison had contributed to Vinter's violent behaviour and removed the incentive for him to behave well and co-operate with the prison regime.
|Simon Wilson||2008||Was sentenced to a whole life sentence in 2008 after admitting grievous bodily harm, sexual assault and attempted rape after attacking his 71 year old victim. Was deported back to Britain from Australia where he lived for most of his life, for committing murder and rape, after serving 16 years.|
|Marc Chivers||2009||Strangled his ex-girlfriend Maria Stubbings with a dog lead in December 2008. He pleaded guilty to the crime in court 12 months later and was jailed for life. He had previously served 15 years in prison in Germany for murdering another ex-girlfriend and was deported to the UK in January 2008. Chivers had a string of previous convictions for some extreme cases of violent behaviour.|
|Peter Tobin||2009||Convicted in 2009 of the murder of Dinah McNicol in Margate, Kent, in 1991. Tobin had already been convicted in Scotland for the murder that same year of Vicky Hamilton, whose body was found in Tobin's back garden alongside that of McNicol, and also for the murder of Angelika Kluk in a Glasgow church in 2006. Tobin was already serving two concurrent prison sentences in Scotland (which does not have the whole-life tariff) of 21 years and 30 years for the murders of Angelika Kluk and Vicky Hamilton respectively, but in December 2009 he was found guilty of Dinah McNicol's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment – this time with a recommendation that life must mean life. However, the minimum terms Tobin was already serving for the two other murders were effectively "whole life" sentences as he was over 60 years old when sentenced.|
|Royston Jackson||2010||2019||Convicted of the murder of convicted sex offender Gordon Boon in October 2008, after being released on licence two years earlier following his conviction for another murder he had committed in 1989. Died from cancer at HMP Whitemoor in March 2019|
|Peter Sutcliffe||Yorkshire Ripper||2010||2020||The Yorkshire Ripper, who murdered 13 women and attacked seven others between 1975 and 1980 in West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. He was caught by chance while sitting in his car with a prostitute and potential victim in Sheffield in January 1981, and made a full confession to each attack to the police, even though they had only arrested him for having false number plates. At his trial later in 1981 he pleaded guilty to manslaughter but was convicted of 13 murders and was jailed for life. He was initially held in a mainstream prison before being transferred to Broadmoor Hospital. He was returned to a mainstream prison in 2016.
Sutcliffe's trial judge recommended that he should serve at least 30 years in prison before being considered for parole, meaning that he could have been given parole as early as 2011.
It was frequently reported in the media that he was among the prisoners to have been issued with a whole-life tariff, but he was not on a list of 35 such prisoners which was published in December 2006. A whole-life tariff was imposed by the High Court on 16 July 2010.
|Ernest Wright||2010||Convicted of the execution-style murder of Neville Corby (aged 42) with a shotgun and the simultaneous attempted murder of Corby's partner. Had been previously convicted of murder in 1971 and served 26 years.|
|Anthony Hardy||Camden Ripper||2010||Killing of three women to "satisfy depraved and perverted needs". Police believe he was involved in six other murders of women but these cases have not been brought to court.|
|John Maden||2010||Drugged, raped and killed his 12-year-old niece Tia Rigg at his Manchester home after luring her there on the pretext of babysitting. He then phoned police and told them that he had murdered her "because he felt like it". He had previously developed an obsession with violent pornography and images of extreme child abuse.|
|Desmond Lee||2010||Convicted in 2010 of murdering his lover Christopher Pratt by breaking his voice box and a bone in his neck in his flat in Ravensthorpe, then using his credit cards to go on a shopping spree before dumping his body. Served 14 years of a life sentence from 1990 to 2004 after murdering his landlady Shirley Carr after she taunted him over the breakdown of his relationship.|
|Wilbert Dyce||2010||Convicted in 2010 of a 1982 triple murder in which a mother and her two young daughters were killed. The murder was initially treated as racially motivated, as racist slogans had been spray-painted over the walls of the family's home, but Dyce was eventually linked to the crimes by advances in DNA technology, and it was established that the hallmarks of a racially motivated attack had been part of a plot by Dyce (who was also Afro-Caribbean) to try to avoid capture.|
|Stephen Griffiths||Crossbow Cannibal||2010||Convicted of murdering three women in Bradford, one murder involving the use of a crossbow. He dismembered his victims before dumping the remains in the River Aire. Griffiths also claimed to have cannibalised his victims, though this has never been definitively proven.|
|John Sweeney||Canal killer||2011||Convicted of murdering two women whose bodies were found mutilated and dumped in canals in London and the Netherlands.|
|George Norman Johnson||2011||Convicted in 2011 of the premeditated murder of 89-year-old Florence Habesch in February that year to fund his drug addiction. Wolverhampton-born Johnson had already served 20 years of a life sentence imposed in 1986 for the murder of a man in a burglary at his house.|
|John Cooper||The Bullseye Killer||2011||Convicted in 2011 of two double murders in Pembrokeshire, Wales, the first in 1985 and the second in 1989.|
|David Baxendale||The Costa Killer||2011||Convicted in March 2011 of the murder by repeated stabbing of a woman in Nutfield, Surrey, in June 2010. Baxendale had a history of violence stretching back some 20 years. In 2001 he was convicted of murder in Spain, where he had repeatedly stabbed his victim and for which he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He served seven years of his sentence before being deported back to Britain.|
|Andrew Dawson||The Angel of Mercy Killer||2011||Convicted of the murder of John David Matthews and Paul Hancock in July 2010. He was out on licence from a previous murder conviction committed in the 1980s.|
|David Cook||2012||Convicted in 1988 of strangling a young woman to death, Cook was released in 2009. Cook strangled a second victim when on parole, and the second judge gave him a whole-life tariff.|
|David Oakes||2012||2013||Convicted and sentenced to a whole life term for the double murder, using a double-barrelled shotgun, of his ex-girlfriend Christine Chambers and their two-year-old daughter following the breakdown of their relationship and just hours before a custody hearing to agree access rights to their daughter. Christine had been assaulted over a period of several hours before being shot. Oakes was said to be jealous and frustrated over the ending of the relationship and did not want another father figure in his daughter's life. Oakes died in hospital of natural causes less than a year into his life sentence.|
|Stephen Farrow||2012||Farrow, a vagrant with a history of psychiatric illness, was convicted of the murders of Betty Yates (aged 77) and the Reverend John Suddards (aged 59). Mr Justice Field, sentencing, said: "The sentence for murder is a mandatory life sentence and in respect of each count I pass a life sentence. I next have to consider whether you should be made the subject of a whole-life sentence or whether a minimum term should be set. I am satisfied that in your case a whole-life sentence is an appropriate sentence in each of these dreadful, horrific killings."|
|Mark Bridger||2013||Bridger was found guilty of abducting and murdering five-year old April Jones, who was last seen alive on 1 October 2012, in Machynlleth, Wales. He claimed to have accidentally run her over while driving and that he could not remember where he had hidden her body due to being intoxicated. On 30 May 2013, he was found guilty of abduction, murder and perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released. Although April Jones's body has never been found, police linked her DNA profile to bone fragments and blood found in Bridger's house and concluded that she had suffered unsurvivable injuries, and were able to press murder charges within a week of her disappearance despite having not found her body, which they believe may have been dismembered.
Bridger later planned to appeal against his sentence, but dropped his appeal bid in January 2014 just before it was due to be heard.
|Dale Cregan||2013||Cregan murdered Police Constables Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, two Greater Manchester Police officers, in a gun and grenade attack on 18 September 2012. He also pleaded guilty to two separate killings of two members of the same family earlier in 2012, as part of a gangland feud in Manchester. Cregan received a whole-life prison term on 13 June 2013.|
|Gary Smith||2013||Smith, along with accomplice Lee Newell, murdered convicted child killer Subhan Anwar in his cell at HMP Long Lartin on 14 February 2013 by strangling him with tracksuit trousers. Smith was already serving a life sentence for a previous murder committed in 1998. He received a whole-life sentence on 23 September 2013.|
|Lee Newell||2013||Convicted alongside Gary Smith for the February 2013 murder of convicted child killer Subhan Anwar in his cell at HMP Long Lartin. Newell was already serving a life sentence for a previous murder committed in 1988 and received a whole-life sentence on 23 September 2013.|
|Jamie Reynolds||2013||Pleaded guilty to murdering 17-year-old Georgia Williams after luring her to his home in Wellington, Shropshire, in May 2013. He then dumped her body near Wrexham, North Wales, where it was found just after his arrest in Glasgow several days later.
In 2008 Reynolds tried to strangle a girl, but this merely resulted in a final warning when police investigated. In 2011, Reynolds drove his car into that of a girl who had rejected his advances, but police did not connect this with the 2008 incident. The Justice Liaison Service and police were told about violent pornography Reynolds had viewed, as well as images he had created of young women and teenage girls he personally knew. This was also not taken sufficiently seriously and the girls were not warned. Several agencies were involved with Reynolds but there was no co-ordinated approach to managing or monitoring him, and consequently few people who knew him were aware of these incidents.
In the aftermath of his conviction for the murder of Georgia Williams, media sources stated that the murder could have been prevented if police and social services had acted on information they had received about Reynolds, which would have led to him being monitored and potentially registered as a sex offender when at liberty, even if he had not been jailed for these offences.
Reynolds, 23 when he went on trial began and still 22 when he committed the murder, confessed to the murder on 2 December 2013. Sentencing was delayed until 19 December, when the judge sentenced him to life imprisonment and recommended that he should never be released, after reading reports from psychiatrists stating that Reynolds had the potential to progress into a serial killer had he not apprehended and was likely to remain a danger to women for the rest of his life. The court also heard of pornographic material found on his computer, including 72 graphic videos and more than 16,000 graphic images. A murderer at the age of 22 and sentenced to life at 23, Reynolds is one of the youngest people in British history to be handed a whole-life tariff. In April 2014 it was reported that he would be appealing for a reduction in his sentence, despite his solicitor announcing shortly after the trial that Reynolds was resigned to spending the rest of his life in prison and would not be challenging his sentence. His appeal was rejected on 31 October 2014.
Since he was remanded in custody during 2013, Reynolds has been held at Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside. In September 2016, the Welsh media reported that Reynolds was lodging a fresh appeal to the European Court of Human Rights which was likely to be heard during 2017. As of 2019, however, his case has still not been heard.
|Anwar Rosser||2014||"Psychotic, bullying alcoholic" 33 year old Anwar Rosser, a former soldier, murdered sleeping four-year-old Riley Turner in a "savage and sadistic" attack on 20 January 2013 while Rosser was staying at the Turner family home. The motive for the killing remains unknown. He admitted the murder in court a year later and was sentenced to life in prison. His appeal against his sentence in October 2014 was rejected.|
|Ian McLoughlin||2014||Ian McLoughlin committed his first killing in 1984, when he bludgeoned 49-year-old Len Delgatty with a hammer before strangling him. The jury chose to convict him of manslaughter (rather than murder) on 19 September 1984, and he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. On 27 June 1985, this was reduced to eight years on appeal. In September 1990, just over a year after being let out of prison for killing Len Delgatty, he murdered Peter Halls in Brighton, and was sentenced to life at Lewes Crown Court in July 1992, with the Lord Chief Justice recommending a minimum term of 14 years. 21 years later, on 13 July 2013, he was released on temporary licence, and on that day, during the course of a robbery murdered Graham Buck, an innocent man investigating his neighbour's cries for help. McLoughlin was convicted of robbery and murder, and was initially sentenced to life with a minimum term of 40 years, and 8 years concurrent for the robbery. His trial judge believed that he no longer had the power to recommend that a life sentence could mean life, following the European Court of Human Rights ruling two months earlier. However, McLoughlin was already 55 years old and this meant that he would not be considered for parole unless he lived to be at least 95.
Following a ruling by British judges in February 2014 that whole-life tariffs were lawful, McLoughlin's 40-year sentence was quashed, and a whole-life order was applied to him.
|Michael Adebolajo||2014||On the afternoon of 22 May 2013, a British Army soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was attacked and killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London. Both men were Muslim converts. 29-year-old Adebolajo was found guilty of Rigby's murder on 19 December 2013, as was Adebowale, but their sentencing was delayed due to the pending outcome of the High Court's decision on life sentences following the European Court of Human Rights ruling in July that year. On 26 February 2014, after the High Court ruled that whole-life sentences were still lawful provided they were reviewed after 25 years, Adebolajo was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court, to a Whole life term. Adebowale avoided a whole-life sentence but instead received a 45-year minimum term and is unlikely to be released until at least 2058, when he will be 67.|
|Joanne Dennehy||2014||Described by the judge as a "cruel, calculating, selfish and manipulative serial killer". Convicted of murdering three men in seemingly random attacks which were committed in March 2013. She confessed to all three murders at the Old Bailey on 18 November 2013. Due to the pending High Court ruling on the legality of whole life sentences, sentencing was delayed until 28 February 2014, when she was jailed for life with a whole-life tariff, making her one of only three women to be handed a whole-life sentence and the first woman ever to be given this sentence by a judge. Three men were found guilty of taking part in the crimes but all three received lesser sentences.|
|Paul O'Hara||2014||Described by police as "a predatory, violent individual", O’Hara was sentenced to a whole life term on 30 June 2014 after admitting murdering his girlfriend Cherylee Shennan. On 17 March 2014, Shennan was in her own home giving evidence to two police officers about domestic abuse suffered at O'Hara's hands when he burst in, attacked the two officers with a hammer and chased Shennan into the street where he then fatally stabbed her. O’Hara had been previously sentenced to life in 1998 for murdering girlfriend Janine Waterworth in "very similar circumstances", and had only been released on licence in 2013.|
|Ryan Matthews||2015||62-year-old convicted murderer Matthews was sentenced to a whole life term on 9 January 2015, after pleading guilty to the murder of healthcare assistant Sharon Wall at Wotton Hill Hospital in Gloucester on 9 July 2014. Matthews left Broadmoor Secure Hospital in 1999 under the Mental Health Act and his mental health had "deteriorated" throughout stays in various hospitals following his release. Matthews had originally been jailed for life after being convicted in 1983 (under the name Stephen Cecil King) of two other murders and a count of conspiracy to murder.|
|David Mitchell||2015||On 11 December 2013, 47-year-old David Mitchell killed his homosexual lover, convicted sex offender Robert Hind, in a drunken rage. The body was dismembered and dumped in several trash bags in or by a canal a short distance from his home. Mitchell had previously served 23 years of a life sentence for the murder of his girlfriend in 1990 and was released only four months before the murder.|
|Jason Gomez||2015||On 25 March 2015, 45-year-old Jason Gomez and 33-year-old Paul Wadkin lured a fellow prisoner 46-year-old Darren Flynn into a cell at HMP Swaleside and then stabbed him over 190 times with a thin black handle and a knife wrapped in material. Jason Gomez was already serving life for a previous murder committed in 2001 when he stabbed his business partner Robert Jones to death and while he admitted his part in Flynn's murder before the trial got started, the judge still gave him a whole-life sentence. In July 2016, Gomez had an appeal against the sentence rejected.|
|Ian Birley||2015||On 13 July 2015, 43-year old Ian Birley and his girlfriend, 39-year old Helen Nichols, followed 65-year-old John Gogarty to his home in Wombwell, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, before demanding his PIN and stabbing him 69 times.
This was the second murder that Birley was convicted of. In 1996, Birley had been convicted of the murder of 69-year-old Maurice Hoyle in his house in Barnsley and served 18 years of a life sentence before being released on licence. As a result of having already been convicted of one murder, Birley was given a whole-life tariff for the murder of Mr Gogarty. His partner, Helen Nichols, was told she must serve a minimum of 20 years for her part in the murder.
|Russell Oliver||2016||On 31 May 2015, previously convicted murderer Russell Anthony Oliver, 46, attacked John York in his cell at high-security HMP Long Lartin. York, who was jailed for life in 2013 for beating a man to death, died from head injuries. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave handed Oliver a whole-life sentence at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday 24 March 2016. Co-accused Stephen Boorman, 31, from Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, was cleared of killing York.|
|Anthony Ayres||2016||On 19 November 2015, Anthony Ayres murdered 36-year-old mother-of-one Kelly Pearce at a friend's flat in Canvey, Essex, by stabbing her 40 times and then beating her to death. Ayres had a previous murder conviction dating back to 1994 for murdering his then-girlfriend Dawn Wisdom in 1993, and had been released on licence in May 2012. On 26 July 2016 he was handed a whole-life sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court by Judge Maura McGowan QC.|
|Christopher Halliwell||2016||On 19 October 2012, Christopher Halliwell pleaded guilty to the murder of Sian O’Callaghan who he picked up outside a nightclub in Swindon in March 2011 before stabbing her to death. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years. While under arrest in connection with O'Callaghan's disappearance, Halliwell confessed to killing another woman several years earlier, 20-year-old Becky Godden, who went missing in Swindon in 2003. He led police to both her and O'Callaghan's remains, but the High Court later ruled this was inadmissible as evidence as the investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, had breached the guidelines of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 by failing to caution Halliwell and denying him access to a solicitor during the period that the confession was obtained. As there was no other evidence linking him to Godden's murder other than his confession, police were unable to try him and the charge had to be dropped.
Four years later, Halliwell was tried for Godden's murder after Wiltshire Police uncovered new evidence in the case. On 19 September 2016, a jury convicted him of Godden's murder and, on 23 September, he was given a whole-life sentence with the judge describing him as a "calculating and devious" individual. Police are also investigating the possibility he may have killed more women.
|Arthur Simpson-Kent||2016||Murdered his partner, former EastEnders actress Sian Blake, 43, and their two sons Zachary, aged eight, and Amon, four, by beating and stabbing them to death at their home in Erith, London, in December 2015.
Police believe he committed the murders because she was planning to leave him. He buried their bodies in the garden and later fled to Ghana in an attempt to evade justice, but was caught and returned to the UK. On 5 October 2016, he was given a whole-life sentence after he pleaded guilty to the murders.
|Thomas Mair||2016||Murdered Jo Cox, Labour MP, in Birstall, West Yorkshire on 16 June 2016. Mair had researched and laid out an assassination plan. Because of the severity of the offence, including the political motivation (the trial judge said that he had no doubt that the murder was committed for the purpose of advancing a political, racial and ideological cause, namely that of violent white supremacism and exclusive nationalism most associated with Nazism), the judge imposed a whole-life tariff.|
|Stephen Port||”The Grindr Killer”||2016||Murdered Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Lewisham, Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, Anthony Walgate, 23, from Dagenham, east London, and Jack Taylor, 25, also from Dagenham, between August 2014 and September 2015. Port, a former chef, met his victims on dating websites, including Grindr, and coaxed them to his home in Barking for sex before giving them fatal doses of drugs. Their bodies were all found dumped in or near a graveyard within 500m of his house. The Metropolitan Police admitted it missed "potential opportunities" in investigating the deaths. At his trial, the Judge accepted that Port's intention was only to cause really serious harm and not death, but made the point that Port must have foreseen that there was a high risk of death, especially after the death of his first victim. This was sufficient for him to be convicted of murder in English law. The Judge said that he had carried out the murders to "satisfy his lust for sex with young men who were rendered unconscious" and gave him a whole-life term.|
|Leroy Campbell||2017||Raped and murdered nurse Lisa Skidmore by strangling with a ligature in Bilston and attempted to murder her mother by strangling with a vacuum cord, who came to visit her daughter at her home. He tried to cover his tracks by setting fire to Lisa's room and leaving items with other peoples DNA on them. He had been released four months earlier after serving 17 years on a life sentence for raping a woman in her home she shared with her son, while having previous convictions for crimes including aggravated burglary and indecent assault. He was handed a whole life sentence after pleading guilty to murder, attempted murder, rape and arson with intent by judge Mark Wall at Birmingham Crown Court.|
|Billy White||2017||Murdered his girlfriend Lucy Ayris in 2015 and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15 years by Judge Gerald Gordon at the Old Bailey on 11 May 2016. White later murdered fellow prisoner Brett Rogers (himself a convicted murderer) whilst a prisoner at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire. Judge Robert Juckes QC increased White's term to a whole life order on 25 September 2017 at Worcester Crown Court.|
|John Wass||2017||John Wass, 69 was convicted of 17 counts of historical child abuse which included rape, sexual assault and sexual exposure against 3 different victims going back to the 1960s. Was handed a whole life tariff at Derby Crown Court on 1 August 2017 after a 3 week trial.|
|Alan Maidment||2017||Murdered a man who he believed had assaulted his girlfriend by stabbing him 32 times in Swinton, nine months after he was released on licence from a previous murder conviction on 21 March 2017. Was sentenced to a whole life sentence at his trial on 10 October 2017, along with a six-year sentence for a series of robberies and a two-year sentence for possessing a knife.|
|William McFall||2018||Convicted of the murder of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen alongside his accomplice Steven Unwin, although he was cleared on the rape charge. William McFall, 51 was previously convicted of murder of a pensioner in Northern Ireland in May 1996 and was released on licence in 2010. Was sentenced at Newcastle Crown court alongside his accomplice by Mr Justice Morris in April 2018 to a whole life order.|
|Stephen Unwin||2018||Convicted of the murder and rape of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen. He trapped her before subjecting her to a heinous ordeal of sexual abuse. Stephen Unwin, 40 had previously been convicted of murdering a pensioner and setting a fire to cover his tracks in 1998 but was paroled in 2012 after serving 14 years. Was sentenced at Newcastle Crown court alongside his accomplice by Mr Justice Morris in April 2018 to a whole life order.|
|John Taylor||2018||Was given a second life sentence after admitting 16 sexual offences spanning from 1977 to 1987, a host of crimes including rape, buggery, grievous bodily harm and several other offences. Was originally jailed for life in June 2002 for the murder of Leanne Tiernan and told to expect to spend the rest of his life in prison, although four years later the High Court imposed a minimum sentence of 30 years on Taylor.|
|Mark Fellows||"The Iceman"||2019||After a 26-day trial, Mark Fellows, 38, was found guilty of murdering Paul Massey, 55, shot outside his home in 2015 as part of an ongoing feud between rival gangs the A Team and the 'Anti' or 'AA Team'.
The appeal against his sentence was rejected in June 2019.
|Khairi Saadallah||2021||Khairi Saadallah was sentenced to a whole life order in January 2021 for murdering three people during the 2020 Reading stabbings. Saadallah murdered James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49 and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39 on 20 June 2020 in Forbury Gardens, a public park located in Reading, Berkshire, UK. The presiding judge Nigel Sweeney said “During the course of the attack and afterwards and because he was seeking to advance a political, religious or ideological cause, the defendant was shouting in Arabic, ‘God is the greatest’ and ‘God accept my jihad’.”|
Quashed whole-life orders
- Patrick Magee, who bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton which killed five and nearly killed his intended target Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet was convicted in 1985 of five counts of murder and several explosive and terrorism offences as well, with a recommendation that he serve 35 years in prison, which was increased later to whole life by Michael Howard. He was however released after 14 years, served in mainland British prisons in 1999 as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
- Joe O'Connell, Eddie Butler, Hugh Doherty and Harry Duggan were members of IRA active service unit the Balcombe Street Gang, that terrorised London in 1974 and 1975, killing at least 16 people, injuring many others and planning more attacks. They were caught after they took an elderly couple hostage in their flat in Marylebone while attempting to escape police pursuit and surrendered after 6 days. They were later each given whole life tariffs by the Home Secretary, however they were released as part of the Good Friday Agreement. During their trial they admitted to the Woolwich and Birmingham pub bombings, which others were convicted of and served time for.
- Harry Mackenney was convicted of 4 counts of murder in 1980 alongside his co-defendant Terry Pinfold who was convicted of procuring Harry Mackenney to murder business associate Terrence Eve after murderer John Childs turned evidence against the two. Was cleared in 2003 along with Terry Pinfold and spending over 20 years in prison after the court of appeal accepted that John Childs was a compulsive liar. Was originally told that he would serve 25 years by Mr Justice May, but was told in 1996 by the home secretary that he would never be released.
- Ronald William Barton was convicted of murdering his 14-year-old stepdaughter Keighley Barton in October 1986, in what was believed as an attempt on Barton's part to stop Keighley from testifying against him for child abuse and to gain revenge against her mother. He had several previous convictions for gross indecency against Keighley and sexual assault against other teenage girls, one of which he had been in prison for. After his conviction, he was handed a minimum term of 25 years; but the Lord Chief Justice then recommended that life must mean life, which the Home Secretary agreed with. The term was reset in 1997 to the original 25 years, which was reduced again to 23 years in 2006.
- Thomas Quigley and Paul Kavanagh were both convicted of two murders in a bomb attack in 1981 by the Chelsea Barracks which also injured 39 people. They were both sentenced to 35 years in prison each in 1985 and were told in 1996 by the Home Secretary Michael Howard that they were to receive whole life tariffs, however the order was reversed by the Belfast High Court in 1997 after an appeal by the two men and they were released under the Good Friday Agreement.
- David Wynne Roberts was convicted of murdering a pensioner who was a friend of his grandmother in Anglesey, Wales when he was 14 in 1969 and served seven years in youth detention before being released in 1976 and moving to the North West of England. In 1985, he went to Blackpool where he met a staff from a hotel in Ambleside, Cumbria and stayed with them until he disappeared in early-1986 when the body of the hotel owner was discovered in a cottage, where she was stabbed and strangled with her own scarf. He gave himself in to police in London within a month after the crime and was convicted of murder where his tariff was set at 18 years, which was increased by the Home Secretary in 1988 and then changed to 22 years in 2005 on appeal.
- John Cannan, who was convicted of the murder of Shirley Banks in Bristol on 8 October 1987, attempted kidnapping of Julia Holman and a rape in Reading. He was sentenced with a recommendation that should never be released from prison by Mr Justice Drake at Exeter Crown Court in April 1989, however this was overturned when the Lord Chief Justice and the Home Secretary at the time decided that he should serve at least 35 years instead.
- Howard Hughes, who was convicted in July 1996 of the Murder of Sophie Hook in Llandudno 12 months earlier. He denied the murder of Sophie, of Great Budworth, Cheshire, who was seven years old when she died, but was found guilty of rape and murder at Chester Crown Court and jailed for life with a recommendation that he should never be released. Two subsequent appeals against his conviction were rejected. In November 2002, Hughes was one of four convicted child murderers who received 50-year minimum terms imposed by the-then Home Secretary David Blunkett shortly before politicians were stripped of their powers to decide minimum terms for life sentence prisoners. The 50-year minimum term meant that Hughes would not be able to apply for parole until he was 80 years old.
- Timothy Morss and Brett Tyler, who murdered nine-year-old Daniel Handley from East London in October 1994 and buried his body near Bristol, where it was found five months later. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in May 1996 and the trial judge recommended that they should never be released, as he felt they would never cease to pose a danger to children. In November 2002, the pair were among four convicted child murderers who were issued with 50-year minimum terms by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett, just before politicians were stripped of their powers to set minimum terms for life sentence prisoners; this meant that Morss and Tyler would both be over 80 years old before parole could be considered.
- Roy Whiting, who murdered Sarah Payne in West Sussex in July 2000, was told by his trial judge when convicted in December 2001 that his crime (combined with the fact that he had a previous conviction for child abduction and indecent assault) was a rare case for which a life sentence should mean life. In November 2002, Home Secretary David Blunkett ruled that Whiting should serve at least 50 years in prison, meaning he would only qualify for parole if he lived to the age of 92 or beyond, although this in practice revoked the whole life tariff recommended in court. Whiting appealed against this ruling, his lawyers arguing that Blunkett's ruling had been politically motivated as he was on the verge of losing his powers to set minimum terms for life sentence prisoners, and that the government was under mounting pressure from the British public due to the recent start of a firefighters strike. The crime had also attracted widespread media and public attention, and led to calls for tighter laws regarding the monitoring of convicted sex offenders. Whiting's appeal was heard in June 2010, when the High Court (which by this stage now had the final say on how long a life sentence prisoner should serve before being considered for parole) reduced Whiting's minimum sentence to 40 years, which means he cannot apply for parole until he is at least 82 years of age.
- David Morris was convicted in 2002 murdering three generations of the same family in 1999. His victims were 80-year-old Doris Dawson, her 34-year-old daughter Mandy Power and her two granddaughters, 10-year-old Katie and 8-year-old Emily by beating them with a pole and then setting the house on fire where their bodies were discovered by firefighters and was given a whole life sentence by the judge for the "exceptional savagery" of the murders. However, in July 2007, the sentenced was reduced to a recommendation of 32 years in prison.
- David Bieber, an American former marine who fatally shot an already wounded prone policeman in the head and wounded two others in Leeds on Boxing Day 2003 and was jailed for life in December 2004. The whole life tariff was quashed in July 2008 and replaced by one of 37 years. This means he will be at least 75 before parole can be considered.
- Stephen Ayre, who was paroled in 2005 after serving 20 years of a life sentence for the murder of a 25-year-old woman, committed rape of a 10-year-old boy at knifepoint in Bradford within months of his release. He was sentenced to life imprisonment again at his trial in April 2006, and told that he should never be released, a recommendation normally only made in the case of people convicted of murder. However, his whole life tariff was later quashed on appeal.
- Trevor Hamilton, jailed for life in August 2006 for the murder of 65-year-old librarian Attracta Haron in Northern Ireland in December 2003. Hamilton, who was 21 when he committed the murder and 24 when jailed, had his whole life tariff reduced to 35 years on appeal in June 2008, meaning that he will be well into his fifties before parole can be considered.
- Clement McNally who was serving a life term for stabbing a friend outside a house in 2002, strangled his cellmate Anthony Hesketh in Manchester's Strangeways Prison in September 2003 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given a whole life tariff as a result. In October 2009, it was reduced on appeal to 20 years in prison on account of his mentally abnormal condition.
- Reginald Wilson, who was convicted in 1991 of murdering skin specialist David Birkett with a hammer in 1990 and was sentenced to life in prison, however he was told three years later by the Home Secretary that life should mean life, It was however later reduced to a 30-year tariff in 2008. He has proven to be a disruptive and dangerous prisoner by trying to stab a prison officer 1999 and was transferred to the prisons close supervision centre unit and is held in the exceptional risk unit.
- John Hilton was convicted of murder with two other men, Philip Kelly and Charles Connelly during the Mitcham Co-op Robbery and was sentenced to life in prison, while his accomplice George Thatcher was sentenced to death by hanging for capital murder in 1963, only to have his death sentence quashed soon afterwards and replaced with a life sentence from which he was paroled after 18 years. John Hilton served 15 years and was released on licence in 1978, where a month after he shot and killed a diamond jeweller and accidentally shot his partner who then bled to death, he was then given a whole life tariff. The sentence was later reduced to 25 years in prison in 2009 on account of exceptional progress in prison.
- Peter Bryan is a murderer who killed Nisha Sheth, the daughter of an employer who sacked him for stealing, with a hammer in 1993. He was released in 2004 and by agreement of the doctors at the Newham General Hospital allowed to leave the ward on which he was staying whenever he liked. On this ward, he murdered Bryan Cherry by dismembering him and then eating a part of his brain. When he was admitted to Broadmoor, he killed Richard Loudwell, who was awaiting trial for murder by bashing his head against the floor and strangling him and as a result was given a whole life tariff. It was reduced on appeal to 15 years in 2006 on the basis that the trial judge didn't give enough consideration to his mental health.
- Danilo Restivo was convicted in 2011 for the 2002 murder of Heather Barnet. In a second trial, Restivo was later sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of a teenager in his native Italy in 1993. In 2012 his term was reduced to 40 years as part of a joint appeal by several prisoners with long sentences.
- Michael Roberts was convicted in 2012 of numerous offences between 1988–2005, including rapes. His sentence was reduced to life with a 25-year minimum at the same appeal that reduced Restivo's sentence. Roberts was the only person in British legal history to have been handed a whole life tariff for a crime other than murder.
- Anthony Entwistle, then aged 38, murdered 16-year old Michelle Calvy in April 1987, abducting her from a towpath in Blackburn, raping her, and strangling her with her T-shirt. He dumped her body in Tockholes. The murder was 18 days after his release from a 10-year sentence in 1980 for rape, which followed another seven-year sentence in 1974 for sexually assaulting two women. He was found guilty of Calvy's murder at Preston Crown Court in March 1988, and sentenced to life imprisonment with trial judge Mr. Justice Rose recommending a minimum term of 25 years. He was later given a whole-life tariff by the Home Secretary Douglas Hurd. In 2009, Mr. Justice Davis ruled at the High Court that Entwistle could be considered for release after 25 years (less 10 months spent on remand) if he was judged to no longer be a threat to the public, rather than imposing a whole life tariff, saying that "He can only be released if ever (and it may be never) he is assessed as no longer a danger to the public." The parole board turned down his request for release in June 2013.
- David Martin Simmons had originally received a whole-life term for rape and false imprisonment. This was reduced to a ten-year minimum when he appealed alongside Restivo, Roberts, and others whose appeals were not successful.
- Donald Andrews had received a whole-life term for rape and kidnapping in 2012, while having two previous convictions for manslaughter. This was reduced to a twelve-year minimum when he appealed in 2015, making him eligible for release in 2024.
- Simon Smith was convicted of murdering 3 of his infant children from 1989 to 1994, with Mr Justice McKinnon at Stafford Crown Court recommending that he never be released from prison in 1996. Smith was however told at a later date he could apply for parole after 24 years in prison.
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