A human rights appeal by three killers against their “whole life” sentence for murder is to be considered by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.
The decision, announced earlier today, means judges will consider the complaint of Vinter and Others v. the United Kingdom (nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) on Wednesday 28 November 2012 at 9h 15 (CET). The case (covering all three joined applications) was referred to the Grand Chamber at the request of Vinter.
The applicants – Douglas Gary Vinter, Jeremy Neville Bamber and Peter Howard Moore – protest that their imprisonment for life amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment as they have no hope of release.
All three men are currently serving mandatory sentences of life imprisonment for murder. Vinter was convicted of stabbing his wife in February 2008, having already been convicted of murdering a work colleague in 1996. Bamber was convicted of shooting and killing his adoptive parents, sister and her two young children in August 1985. Moore was convicted of stabbing four men with a large combat knife between September and December 1995.
When convicted the applicants were sentenced to whole life orders, meaning they cannot be released other than at the discretion of the Secretary of State on compassionate grounds (for example, if they are terminally ill or seriously incapacitated).
Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, all three applicants complain that their imprisonment without hope of release is cruel and amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.
In its judgment of 17 January 2012, the Court held, by four votes to three, that there had been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
Video: Why the court decided Jeremy Bamber’s life imprisonment is for life