Triple killer to remain in prison

Arthur Hutchinson
Arthur Hutchinson
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A killer who murdered three members of the same Sheffield family and led police on a manhunt has lost his legal challenge against his whole-life prison sentence.

Arthur Hutchinson stabbed solicitor Basil Laitner, 59 and his 55-year-old wife Avril to death after breaking into their home in Dore, Sheffield, hours after they had celebrated their daughter Suzanne’s wedding at the property.

Hutchinson, 73, then killed Mr and Mrs Laitner’s son, Richard, 28 before tying up and raping a woman on the night of terror in October 1983.

He then spent weeks on the run before he was arrested.

Hutchinson was found guilty of all three murders and the rape and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1984, with a recommended minimum term of 18 years.

But the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, later placed Hutchinson on a list of prisoners for whom life sentences should mean life.

Hutchinson mounted a challenge against the whole-life tarif at the European Court of Human Rights.

He was the first Briton to challenge the sentence after a controversial ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in July 2013 that whole-life tariffs breach human rights.

The Strasbourg-based court held that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which relates to inhuman and degrading treatment – on the basis that whole-life orders were not ‘reducible’.

But judges at European Court of Human Rights yesterday ruled that in Hutchinson’s case there was no violation of Article 3 as the UK’s Secretary of State has the power to review whole-life sentences and release a prisoner on licence.

Six years ago Hutchinson lost a challenge against whole-life tariffs at the Court of Appeal in London.

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