A multiple murderer who killed three members of the same Sheffield family has become the first Briton to challenge his ‘life means life’ tariff following a controversial ruling by European judges that it breaches human rights.
Arthur Hutchinson, now aged 73, was jailed for stabbing to death wealthy Dore couple Basil and Avril Laitner on the night of their daughter’s wedding.
He also killed their son Richard and raped another wedding guest at knifepoint.
Hutchinson was jailed for 18 years for the 1984 attack, but then Home Secretary Leon Brittan later ruled he should serve a whole life tariff.
But last month the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled it was ‘inhuman and degrading’ for prisoners to face death in jail.
The case was brought following an appeal by three killers including Jeremy Bamber, who shot dead five members of his family in 1985.
Some 49 prisoners are currently in British jails serving whole life tariffs.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “I have repeatedly made clear how profoundly I disagree with the recent ruling by the European Court.
“Our judges should be able to tell those who commit the most heinous crimes imaginable that they may never be released.
“To be told this breaches human rights is absurd and an insult to those who wrote the original Human Rights Convention.
“What about the rights of the victims and their families?
“I continue to strongly believe that whole life tariffs are appropriate for the worst murder cases. This is why I want wholesale reforms to our human rights laws.”
The Government has been asked to provide a full response to Hutchinson’s claim which could face a full hearing next year.
If his claim is backed by the European Court, then Hutchinson could be released from prison.
Five years ago, Hutchinson made a domestic appeal against whole life tariffs but it was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
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