A High Court judge has used human rights laws to give anonymity to a notorious killer who is seeking to be moved to an open prison.
The man is currently challenging a Parole Board decision refusing him a transfer to open conditions.
A judge ruled today that allowing the convicted man, who has spent decades in prison, to be publicly named would potentially endanger his life.
The judge continued previous orders that have hidden the man’s identity over several years.
Even the details of the man’s offending – referred to by his own counsel as “horrific and horrendous” – cannot be revealed to the public by order of the court.
Mr Justice Simon, sitting in London, rejected submissions from the Press Association that granting the man anonymity was setting a precedent for other high-profile prisoners to seek anonymity.
There were indications in court that the lifer might be given a new identity, if eventually released into the community on parole.
The no-names application was made by the man’s lawyers – with the support of the Justice Secretary.
Quincy Whitaker, making the application, told the judge there was “a serious likelihood of a serious attack” on the man whilst in prison if his identity was revealed in the press and media.
She argued this would infringe his rights under the 1998 Human Rights Act not to have his life endangered and not to be subject to inhuman or degrading treatment.
The judge said the Press Association had “raised some important points” but he was satisfied he should grant the anonymity order – “at least for the moment”.
He said the press and media had 24 hours to contact Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, the London-based solicitors instructing Ms Whitaker, and notice of any application to challenge the order or vary it.
The judge reserved judgment on the killer’s challenge to the Parole Board decision.