UK & World News
Arthur Hutchinson Appeals Whole-Life Term
A triple murderer has become the first Briton to challenge his whole-life tariff following a European court ruling that it breaches human rights.
Arthur Hutchinson, who murdered the parents and brother of a bride hours after her 1984 wedding, has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The 73-year-old was jailed for stabbing to death Basil and Avril Laitner and their son Richard at their home in Dore, Sheffield, before repeatedly raping another wedding guest.
The ECHR in Strasbourg ruled last month that it was "inhuman and degrading" for prisoners to face death in jail.
The initial 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.
The family of Hutchinson's victims said the judges due to rule on the case should "be thrust into our position" before making a decision.
A spokesperson for the Laitner family told ITV News: "Whenever even the name Arthur Hutchinson rears its ugly head, it does nothing but create fear and distress to the victims of this heinous crime.
"Let the Human Rights judiciary members be thrust into our position for just a day and maybe they would understand this.
"We are confident that justice will be done and more importantly, be seen to be done, so that this matter can finally be put to rest."
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 Daily Telegraph reported the Government has been asked to provide a full response to Hutchinson's claim and could face a full hearing next year.
The newspaper said if the claim was backed, 73-year-old Hutchinson could be released from prison.
Five years ago, Hutchinson had a domestic appeal against whole-life tariffs kicked out by the Court of Appeal.
The judge at Hutchinson's original 1984 trial at Sheffield Crown Court ruled that he should serve 18 years but then home secretary Leon Brittan later ruled he should face the whole-life tariff.