UK & World News

  • 2 January 2014, 19:39

Ministers Consider 100-Year Prison Sentences

David Cameron has backed the idea of 100-year jail terms in a bid to keep murderers in prison and ensure that life means life.

Ministers are considering the tariffs as a response to a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling last year which found the whole-life term was unlawful because there was no right to review the sentence.

Under proposals for the 100-year sentences, prisoners would be able to have their case reviewed.

It would mean those who commit murders or other serious crimes could be kept in prison for life without breaching the ruling.

Mr Cameron said: "What I think is very clear, there are some people who commit such dreadful crimes that they should be sent to prison and life should mean life.

"Whatever the European court has said, we must put in place arrangements to make sure that can continue."

There are currently 52 people serving whole-life sentences.

Among them are Jeremy Bamber, who killed five members of his family, Peter Moore, who murdered four men "for fun" within three months, and Douglas Vinter, who murdered his wife.

It is they who challenged the legality of the whole-life sentences, leading to the ECHR ruling in July that a sentence that did not allow the prospect of parole was a breach of human rights.

At the time, Mr Cameron said he was "very, very disappointed" by the ruling.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told Sky News in July that people would find the ruling "intensely frustrating".

He said: "I think this will simply reinforce the desire in this country for wholesale reform of our human rights laws.

"I suspect that the vast majority of the public think the court is just getting this wrong - at the very least it should be a matter for the British Parliament."

Home Office minister Damian Green has been leading a committee considering how to respond to the ECHR ruling.

A Government source told The Daily Telegraph: "The European Court of Human Rights seems to be making decisions a million miles away from what the vast majority of the public think.

"They don't want any possibility of the most horrible of criminals walking the streets again, and this plan could be a way to make sure that doesn't happen."

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