‘Life tariff’ upheld for killer of four gay men

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A man convicted of killing four gay men lost an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights yesterday to overturn the sentence which will see him die in jail.

The judgement was given by a Chamber of seven, and reads that there is ‘No violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment)’ and that Peter Moore had ‘no hope of release.’

In 2009, After spending 16 years in prison, Moore filed an appeal alongside two other convicted murderers, Jeremy Bamber and Douglas Vinter.

Moore was sentenced in 1995 for killing four gay men with a large combat knife, allegedly for his own sexual gratification.

This ruling by the Court means that such ‘life tariff’ prisoners will never be released.

The aim of the appeal was to argue that their ‘whole life tariffs’ amounted to “inhuman or degrading treatment”. They also argued that their sentences should be reviewed regularly.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke had said prior to the ECHR’s decision that the Government were: “fighting the case vigorously and defending the principle of the whole life tariff”.

The Daily Record reported that upon the court’s decision, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Government strongly welcome this decision.

“We are pleased that the European court has upheld the whole life tariff as a legitimate sentence in British courts.”

Bamber, one of the three appellants, provided the legal team for the whole case. He was sentenced in 1986 for killing several members of his family, and has already made various appeals.

Vinter had served 9 years in prison for the murder of a colleague before being released. His ‘life tariff’ was imposed three years later after he was sentenced for stabbing and strangling his wife to death.

There are currently 41 prisoners serving ‘whole life’ sentences in England and Wales.

The only exception in the UK is Scotland, where judges cannot impose ‘whole life’ tariffs, but can set high minimum sentences which can have the same effect.

The law states that the only way these kinds of prisoners can be released is at the discretion of the Justice Secretary, and only on compassionate grounds, if seriously incapacitated or terminally ill.

Until three months after the ruling, a request may be made to refer the case to a Grand Chamber at the ECHR. If this is accepted, a judgement will be made on whether the case requires further examination, if it is not, the Court’s decision will be finalised.