Judges back life sentences

Arthur Hutchinson
Arthur Hutchinson
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Two South Yorkshire murderers locked up for the rest of their lives look no closer to ever getting released after five of the country’s top judges gave their backing to the use of whole-life sentences.

The judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, announced their decision on controversial ‘life-means-life’ orders at the Court of Appeal, backing the Government stance that they are ‘wholly justified in the most heinous cases’.

Arthur Hutchinson received a whole life tariff in 1984 for three murders committed in Dore, Sheffield.

He killed Basil Laitner, aged 59, his 55-year-old wife Avril, and their 28-year-old son Richard just hours after the family hosted a wedding reception.

And Anthony Arkwright received a whole life tariff for murdering his grandfather and two neighbours in Wath and Mexborough in 1988.

Lord Thomas said whole-life orders were ‘entirely compatible’ with the European Convention on Human Rights.

He added: “The making of a whole-life order requires detailed consideration of the individual circumstances of each case. It is likely to be rare the circumstances will be such that a whole-life order is required.”

Whole life tariffs were deemed ‘inhuman and degrading’ by the European Court of Human Rights last year.

But Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is a timely and welcome decision. Our courts should be able to send the most brutal murderers to jail for the rest of their lives.

“I think people in Britain will be glad our courts have disagreed with the European Court of Human Rights, and upheld the law the UK Parliament passed.”

Attorney General Dominic Grieves said: “I am pleased the Court of Appeal has confirmed those who commit the most heinous crimes can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives.”