List of prisoners with whole-life tariffs

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This is a list of prisoners who have received a whole life order through some mechanism in jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It has been reportedly issued in at least 84 cases since its introduction in 1983.

There are currently at least 60 prisoners in England and Wales who are reported to be serving whole life sentences. At least 13 other prisoners have since died in prison, and at least 11 others have had their sentences reduced on appeal.

The current list does not include child killers such as Roy Whiting and Ian Huntley, who are not serving a whole life tariff but have instead received minimum terms which are likely to see them imprisoned for most, if not all, of their remaining lives.

Imposed by Home Secretaries[edit]

Successive Home Secretaries are known to have imposed whole life tariffs for at least 23 murderers (note, this list is incomplete):

Name Nickname Year Died Notes
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 1951. The following year, he escaped for a four-hour period and murdered another girl during this short spell at large, although he long proclaimed his innocence, and has had his case examined by justice campaigners who also believe his conviction was unsafe.[citation needed] 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 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 would ever be rehabilitated and be considered for parole.

With accomplice Myra Hindley, he buried the children in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor. In 1986, they admitted two more murders, and were taken back to the Moor to try and locate the graves. Only one was found. Since 1985 he has been held in a mental hospital and has been on long-term hunger strike, which has led to his being force-fed through a tube. He has 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 the murder in 1986; they did, however, guide police to the buried body of 16-year-old Pauline Reade in 1987. In 2006, Brady wrote to the 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.[1]

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, which was endorsed in 1982 by the Lord Chief Justice. 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 1988 and, finally, to a whole life tariff two years later, although she was not informed of the whole life tariff until 1994. 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 public opposition to Hindley ever being released. 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 and launched a further bid for freedom in 1996 when she had served 30 years, but all her efforts were rejected and she died in jail at the age of 60 in November 2002, less than two weeks before a law lords' ruling would probably have secured her freedom. Her case 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 one of the victims, who gave regular newspaper and television interviews to argue against any suggestion of release from prison, and vowed to kill Hindley if she ever was released.

Her death left only Rosemary West (jailed for life for 10 murders in 1995) as a confirmed female prisoner serving a whole life tariff, until the addition of Joanne Dennehy, in 2014.[2]

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. In 2008, Neilson lost an appeal to have his tariff reduced to 30 years. He remained in prison until his death three years later, having served 35 years[3][4]
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 and in August 1976. He confessed to the murders and 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. 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) is a serial killer who 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 has served much of his sentence in solitary confinement to prevent him from attacking or killing any more inmates.[5][6][7]
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 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, 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. He was 78. 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.[7][8]
Dennis Nilsen Muswell Hill Murderer 1983 - A civil servant and former policeman 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, 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 has not transpired and he remains imprisoned. Nilsen has also been 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. However, he remains in prison more than 30 years on, having been issued with a whole life tariff by at least one Home Secretary. 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.
Jeremy Bamber 1986 - In October 1986, he as 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 schizophrenic, had committed the murders before killing herself. This was the police's original line of inquiry and the media reported the deaths as a murder-suicide, but within weeks of the murders being committed the line of the police investigation had changed and Bamber was charged with five murders.

His trial judge said in sentencing him 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. Bamber has nonetheless spent his sentence continuously protesting his innocence, asking for support on a website he runs from prison and seeking new evidence to launch fresh appeals. Support for his case is increasing, including backing from his MP. Before the law lords' ruling in November 2002, Bamber was told by at least one Home Secretary that his life sentence would mean life.

Anthony Entwistle 1987 - He murdered 16-year-old Michelle Calvy at Blackburn in 1987, within weeks of his release from a seven-year prison sentence imposed for sexually assaulting two women. He was found guilty of Michelle's murder at Preston Crown Court in 1988, sentenced to life imprisonment and is still behind bars more than a quarter of a century later.[4]
Victor Miller 1988 - A predator who abducted, sexually assaulted and battered to death a 14-year-old boy from Hagley in Worcestershire in January 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. Although he was set a tariff of 25 years which was reactivated after the November 2002 law lords' ruling, meaning he could be considered for release in 2013, Miller has asked the Home Office not to consider him for release at any point in the future, and therefore actively 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 given a 30-year tariff for two murders and seven rapes which, after the law lords' ruling, was reactivated, meaning that he could be considered for release in 2018. 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 - Hacked and battered to death three people including his grandfather in Yorkshire on a two-day killing spree in 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.[9]
Mark Robinson 1989 - Mark Robinson killed Patrica Anne Wagner at 17 after she threatened to tell his mother about the affair the two were having, which Robinson responded by strangling her. When he 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.[10][11]
Victor Castigador 1990 - 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 still be released from prison as early as 2015 (by which time he will be 61 years old) if the parole board decides he is no longer a danger to the public. 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.[12]
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, and was caught when, having visited police to explain away his sighting on closed-circuit television with his final victim, 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 and died behind bars on 21 February 2012 at the age of 57.[13]
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; Lowry J 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.[14]
Robert Black 1994 - A paedophile who abducted, raped and killed three 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 make him ineligible for release until 2029 and the age of 82. He was later given a whole life tariff by the home secretary, although the November 2002 law lords' ruling means that he could still receive early release. Black has been long suspected of involvement in the disappearances of numerous other children in the 1970s and 1980s but questioning of him has proved inconclusive; no bodies have ever been found in these cases and the files remain open.
Rosemary West 1995 - Convicted for the murder of ten women and girls at her home in Gloucester, including one of her daughters and a step-daughter. 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). Hindley's death in November 2002 left West as the only confirmed female prisoner on the whole life tariff register.[4]
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.[15]
Anthony Sawoniuk 1999 2005 Belorussian Nazi collaborator who was convicted of murder committed outside the UK against non-UK citizens, during the Holocaust, based on the principle of universal jurisdiction. He is the only person sentenced to a whole life tariff under the War Crimes Act and was the oldest prisoner with such a tariff 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 GP who was convicted of killing 15 of his patients, all female, at his surgery in Hyde, Greater Manchester, in the 1990s, giving them lethal doses of morphine. 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 two years later the Home Secretary agreed. An official inquiry in July 2002 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 practicing 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.

Sentenced by judges[edit]

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 45 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.

Name Nickname Year Died Notes
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.[16] 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.[16]
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 caught for six years. Kunowski served just over five years of his life sentence before he died in Frankland Prison on 23 September 2009. He was identified by the police as a serial sex offender.[17]
Phillip Heggarty 2004 - Convicted of murdering his friend, Derek Bennett, in a hammer attack in 2003.[18] He later set fire to a Renault Laguna after placing Mr Bennett's body in it which was so severely burnt that it had to be identified by dental records.[18] 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 ripsaw. 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 at their home near Selby in July 2004, before luring her twin sister 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 in 2005, 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 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.[19] The bodies of Chohan's two sons were never found.[19]
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.[19] He was a former drug dealer who turned to being a Police supergrass to gain himself early release from prison for a prior crime.[20] He murdered Amarjit Chohan and his family in an effort to take over the Chohan family freight business to ship drugs into the UK.[19]
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.[21]
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 Pia Overbury in 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 tried to escape conviction through reasons 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 a 15-year-old who lived near him in Catford, London, before dumping her dismembered remains in bin bags.[22] He slit his wrists and confessed to his girlfriend after the attack, but his suicide bid was thwarted and he was successfully brought to justice, admitted the murder in court several months later.[22] 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.[22] The victim's family later criticised heavily the nature of the media's distressingly over-descriptive reporting of the murder.[22] 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.[23][24]
Rahan Arshad 2006 - Murdered his wife and three children, who were found dead in their home in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Greater Manchester in August 2006.[25]
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 at their home in Southampton.[26]
Michael Smith 2007 - Attacked his victim with a bottle. This was a second life sentence, as he had already served time in prison for the murder of his fiancée in the 1970s. The most recent murder occurred in Stafford, and he was convicted in 2007.[27]
Steve Wright Suffolk Strangler 2008 - Jailed for life in February 2008 after being found guilty of murdering five prostitutes whose bodies were found in the Ipswich area during December 2006. See also: Ipswich serial murders.[4]
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.[28] After being 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.[29]
Douglas 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 a previous murder in the mid 1990s.[30] 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, 18 months after the original challenge was rejected.[31]
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.[32]
Peter Tobin 2009 - Convicted 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 currently 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, when 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.[33]
Royston Jackson 2010 - 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.[34]
Peter Sutcliffe Yorkshire Ripper 2010 - The Yorkshire Ripper, who murdered 13 women and attacked seven others between 1975 and 1980 across West Yorkshire, plus two in 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 a mental hospital. 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 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.[35]
Anthony Hardy Camden Ripper 2010 - Killing of three women to "satisfy depraved and perverted needs".[36] 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 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.[37]
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 and avoid capture.[38]
Stephen Griffiths Crossbow Cannibal 2010 - Convicted of murdering three women in Bradford, one murder involving the use of a crossbow.[39] 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.[40]
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 already had already served 20 years of a life sentence imposed in 1986 for the murder of a man in a burglary at his house.[41]
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.[42]
David Baxendale 2011 - Convicted in March 2011 of the murder by repeated stabbing of a woman in Nutfield, Surrey, in June 2010. Baxendale, who had a history of violence stretching back to around 1990, had previously been convicted of murder in Spain, where he had repeatedly stabbed his victim; for this crime he was sentenced to 11 years in prison at his trial in 2001 and served seven years of his sentence before being deported back to Britain.[43]
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.[44]
David Cook 2012 Convicted in 1988 of murder, Cook was released in 2009 after strangling a woman whilst on licence for robberies. Cook strangled a second victim when on parole, and the second judge gave him a whole life tariff.[45]
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.[46] Oakes died in hospital of natural causes less than a year into his life sentence.[47]
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).[48] 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."[49]
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. In spite of this story, he was found guilty of abduction, murder and perverting the course of justice on 30 May 2013, 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.[50]

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.[51]
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.[52]
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.[52]
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. Reynolds, 23, 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 could progress into a serial killer. The court also heard evidence of pornographic material found on Reynolds' computer, with 72 graphic videos and more than 16,000 graphic images. The[53] Sentenced to life at the age of 23 and still being 22 when he committed the murder, Reynolds is one of the youngest people in British history to be handed a whole life tariff, and in April 2014 it was announced that he would be appealing for a reduction in his sentence, despite his solicitors announcing in January 2014 that Reynolds was resigned to spending the rest of his life in prison and would not be challenging his sentence. On 31 October 2014, it was announced that Reynolds had lost his appeal. He is make a further appeal in the European Court of Human Rights which is set to take place during 2016.
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 nine months later was rejected.[54]
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 UK 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.[55]

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.[56]
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. 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.[57]
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.[58]
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 was already serving a life sentence having been convicted in 1983 (under the name Stephen Cecil King) of two other murders and a count of conspiracy to murder.[59]
David Mitchell 2015 On December 11, 2013, 47 year old David Mitchell killed his homosexual lover, convicted sex offender Rober 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.[60]

Quashed whole-life tariffs[edit]

  • 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. However, the 50-year minimum term meant that Hughes would not be able to apply for parole until he was 80 years old.[61]
  • 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.[62] 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.[63]
  • Roy Whiting, the paedophile 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.[64] 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.[65] 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. 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 still means he cannot apply for parole until he is at least 82.[66]
  • John Taylor admitted the murder of teenager Leanne Tiernan from Leeds in July 2002 and was told by the trial judge to expect to spend the rest of his life in prison. Leanne Tiernan, who was 16 when she went missing, disappeared on 26 November 2000 and her body was found in woodland outside the city nine months later. Taylor was arrested for her murder soon after the body was found.[67]After Taylor was sentenced, West Yorkshire police spoke of their belief that he was responsible for other unsolved murders and sex attacks on women in and around Leeds, and seven months into his sentence he received a further two life sentences for raping two women in Leeds during the late 1980s.[68]In November 2006, the High Court set Taylor's minimum term at 30 years, meaning that he cannot be considered for parole until at least 2031, when he will be 75.[69]
  • David Morris was convicted in 2002 of the 1999 murders of 4 generations of the same family, 80 year old Doris Dawson, her 34 year old daughter Mandy Power and her two daughters, 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.[70] However, in July 2007, the sentenced was reduced to a recommendation of 32 years in prison.[71]
  • 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, but this means he will be at least 75 before parole can be even considered.[72]
  • 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.[73]
  • 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.[74]
  • 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 3 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 center unit and is held in the exceptional risk unit.[75][76]
  • John Hilton was convicted of murder with 2 other people, 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.[77][78] John served 15 years and was released on license 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.[79] The sentence was later reduced to 25 years in prison in 2009.[80]
  • Danilo Restivo was convicted in 2011 of the 2002 murder of Heather Barnet.[81] 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.[82] 2012 saw his term reduced to 40 years as part of a joint appeal by several prisoners with long sentences.[83]
  • Michael Roberts was convicted in 2012 of numerous offences between 1988 and 2005,[84] including rapes.[83] His sentence was reduced to life with a 25-year minimum at the same appeal that reduced Restivo's sentence.[83] Roberts was unique, in that he was the only person serving a whole life tariff who had never committed murder.
  • 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.[83]
  • 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.[85]

See also[edit]

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