Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Cregan's Whole-Life Sentence 'Breaches His Human Rights' ; European Court Rules Sentences Can Be reviewed'Doesn't Mean Prospect of Immediate Release'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Cregan's Whole-Life Sentence 'Breaches His Human Rights' ; European Court Rules Sentences Can Be reviewed'Doesn't Mean Prospect of Immediate Release'

Article excerpt

THE life prison term handed down to Dale Cregan has been thrown into turmoil - after the European Court of Human Rights ruled he must have the right to review for it to fit in with human rights laws.

Cregan, who lured Pcs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone to their deaths in a horrifying gun and grenade attack, joined the likes of Moors murderer Ian Brady when he was handed the 'life means life' sentence . They are two of 49 prisoners sentenced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Trevor Hardy, known as the 'Beast of Manchester' after he murdered three teenage girls in the city in the 1970s, was another, but he died aged 67 last year.

The ruling was made as whole-life prisoners Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore won an appeal in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights that their sentences amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Legal commentators believe it could have a knock-on effect for other murderers.

The court found that for a life sentence to remain compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, there had to be both a possibility of release and a possibility of review. It was stressed in court however that the ruling did not mean 'any prospect of immediate release'.

The panel of 17 judges said: "In finding a violation in this case, however, the court did not intend to give the applicants any prospect of imminent release."

Cregan, 30, was jailed last month for the murders of Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes and father and son David and Mark Short.

Brady, now 75, was convicted with Myra Hindley in the 1960s of the murders of three children. The pair later confessed to two further murders. Brady is the longest serving whole-life prisoner.

The appeal ruled on was brought by Douglas Vinter, who stabbed his wife in February 2008, and means the cases of Jeremy Bamber, who killed his parents, sister and her two young children in August 1985, and Peter Moore, who killed four gay men for his sexual gratification in 1995, will also be considered. …

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