Tolleshunt D’Arcy: European judges to hear Bamber appeal

A CONVICTED killer has won the right to have his appeal over keeping him behind bars for the rest of his life heard by the European Court of Human Rights.

Jeremy Bamber was given a whole-life tarriff after being found guilty of shooting dead his 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.

The 51-year-old, who was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court in 1986, has always protested his innocence and claims his schizophrenic sister Ms Caffell shot her family before turning the gun on herself in the remote farmhouse.

In 2009, Bamber lost a Court of Appeal challenge against the order that he must die behind bars. He has twice lost appeals against conviction.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission reached a provisional decision not to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal last February despite claims by his legal team that they had new evidence that could overturn his conviction.

The hearing will test whether the UK’s law allowing the most dangerous offenders to be sentenced to whole life tariffs, meaning they will never be released, amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear the case in Strasbourg on November 28, a court spokesman said.

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Europe’s human rights judges ruled in January that Britain’s most dangerous and notorious criminals could be kept behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Bamber’s solicitor, Simon McKay, said: “He’s obviously delighted with the decision. It demonstrates that his case remains arguable and he looks forward to presenting his position at the Grand Chamber in due course.”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “The European court upheld the view of our domestic courts that the imposition of whole life tariffs for the most exceptionally serious cases is justified. It goes without saying that the Government will be fighting the case vigorously in the Grand Chamber and defending the principle of the whole life tariff.”

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