Essex/Suffolk: MPs condemn landmark European Court of Human Rights ruling - cousin of Jeremy Bamber and father of Steve Wright victim speak out
PUBLISHED: 11:53 10 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:53 10 July 2013
The father of a Suffolk serial killer victim and politicians last night attacked the European Court of Human Rights after it ruled life can never mean life, even for the most dangerous offenders.
Murderer Jeremy Bamber, who killed five members of his family in Essex, and two other killers won the ruling after judges said their “whole life” sentences amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment”.
But the decision, which means whole-lifers should be entitled to a review of their sentence after 25 years at the latest, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg-based court ruled, has caused outrage.
Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, who campaigns for Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, said: “A case like this illustrates that there is something profoundly rotten about the way this country is run. We can only make it right by taking power away from these so-called judges.”
Bamber, 51, has been behind bars since October 1986 for shooting his wealthy adopted parents June and Neville, his sister Sheila Caffell and her six-year-old twin sons Daniel and Nicholas at their farmhouse in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex.
Tory MP Priti Patel, whose constituency of Witham was where Bamber committed his crime, said the “ridiculous” decision undermined justice and showed no respect for the victims of crime.
A total of 49 people currently serve whole life tariffs in England and Wales, including Suffolk serial killer Steve Wright, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and Moors Murderer Ian Brady. They are currently not eligible for a parole review or release.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer warned the landmark judgement opens the door for further appeals from other whole-lifers, while Justice Secretary Chris Grayling “profoundly” disagreed with the decision.
On a website, Bamber said the verdict was “hollow” as he was still serving a sentence for a crime he did not commit.
His lawyer, Simon McKay, of McKay Law Solicitors and Advocates, said a civilised society is defined by “how it treats those who act outside its laws”.
Meanwhile, David Boutflour said his cousin and mass killer Jeremy Bamber remains a threat to society and should stay behind bars following the “disappointing” ruling.
“He should never be let out. He is still dangerous. He has taken away the human rights of the five people he killed. He should have his rights taken away too,” he said.
“But he has nothing to lose and everything gain now. Every time his case appears the family and friends are tortured. I find it disturbing and emotionally draining. The case should have closed by now.”
Brian Adams, whose daughter Gemma was one of five women murdered by Suffolk serial killer Steve Wright in Ipswich in 2006, said: “These murderers completely threw away their human rights when they took the lives of others.
“The key should be thrown away and they should never have the right to appeal.
“A life sentence should be a life sentence – otherwise what’s the point? The perpetrator is being put first before the victim. What about the human rights of the families?
“Steve Wright is still a danger to the public. He murdered for the thrill of murdering in a callous manner and thought he could get away with it.
“He has shown no remorse and has not had the decency to confess what he did. He should stay behind bars.”