Judge told to ‘button his judicial lip’ over sentencing remarks

PC Ian Broadhurst (L) and David Bieber (R) who murdered him
PC Ian Broadhurst (L) and David Bieber (R) who murdered him

A senior judge has said the current sentencing tariff system “works against” the interests of those who would like to see “really long” jail sentences imposed for murder– but critics say he should ‘button his judicial lip’.

Judge William Davis QC, a senior circuit judge at Birmingham Crown Court, made the comments at the Police Federation conference after the Home Secretary announced plans to enforce “whole life” sentences for cop killers.

Asked if he thought the proposal could work, Judge Davis, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “Speaking purely personally here, not on behalf of Sentencing Council, the problem with the current tariff system for murder is its rigidity.

“It sometimes works against the interests of those who would like to see really long sentences.”

Judge Davis alluded to the case of American David Bieber, who murdered Pc Ian Broadhurst and attempted to murder Pcs Neil Roper and James Banks in 2003 in Leeds.

He said the judge wanted to give Bieber a whole life tariff but this was ultimately denied by the Court of Appeal and his term was set at a minimum of 37 years.

He said: “If there was a degree of judicial independence and discretion one could well imagine that a judge would say for doing what that man did, that’s his whole life.

“As a judge I would prefer a degree of flexibility, which currently there isn’t, particularly in relation to tariffs for murder.”

There have been 12 direct killings of police officers in the course of duty since 2000 – including the murder of Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes by one-eyed Dale Cregan in Greater Manchester last year.

Another high profile case where a police officer died was that of Ian Dibell, an off-duty officer who was shot as he tried to stop a gunman.

Steve Williams, chair of the Police Federation, said: “The public need to have confidence that the criminal sentence they read about in the paper is the sentence the offender completes.

“There is no hierarchy when it comes to victims of murder, however police officers risk their lives on a daily basis confronting danger on behalf of others.

“Would-be offenders must know that they will receive the most severe penalty possible.

“In the names of Fiona Bone, Nicola Hughes and Ian Dibell – three police officers murdered in the last year alone – we support any move that means a true life sentence will be applied to anyone who murders a police officer.'”

David Hanson, shadow policing minister, said: “As the Shadow Home Secretary said last year, the killing of a police officer is a particularly heinous crime that should be punished with the severest possible sentences. We will support any efforts to achieve that aim.”

However, Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners said the calls for more judicial discretion in sentencing was a backward step.

Mr Leech said “Giving Judges more discretion about sentencing is a backward step, it would turn back the sentencing clock 20 years.

“Let’s not forget the reason why we have sentencing guidelines, and a Council to devise them of which Judge William Davis QC is a member, is because history showed that when judges had no guidelines sentences were a lottery, dependent on the prejudices and politics of the sentencing judge.

“If Judge Davis believes the current guidelines on murder are too rigid then as a member of the Sentencing Council he is better placed than many judges to argue for those guidelines to be changed – until he can do that he should either resign from the Council or, in public, button his judicial lip.”

Gerry Adams meeting ‘productive’ say sons of murdered prison officer

brianstack

The family of a murdered prison officer who was widely believed to have been killed by the IRA has held a meeting with Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams.

Brian Stack, who was Chief Prison Officer at Portlaoise Prison in the Irish Republic, was shot in Dublin in 1983. He died 18 months later.

The IRA never claimed responsibility for the murder, but his family believe he was targeted because of his job.

His son, Austin Stack, described the meeting as very productive and genuine.

Two of the murdered officer’s sons met Mr Adams at the Irish houses of parliament in Dublin on Thursday evening.

Speaking after the meeting, Austin Stack told the Irish state broadcaster RTE that no promises has been made, but that the Sinn Fein president had agreed to help them as best he could.

Mr Stack added that his family felt the offer was genuine and said they are due to meet Mr Adams again in about four weeks.

His father was shot in the back of the neck as he walked along Dublin’s South Circular Road shortly after leaving a boxing tournament.

He was the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland during the Troubles.

The man who carried out the shooting escaped on a motorbike, driven by an accomplice.

The prison officer was left brain damaged and paralysed from the neck down by the shooting and died from his injuries.

Austin Stack, the eldest of his three children, was 14 at the time of the shooting and is now the assistant governor of Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.

He said he believes the IRA carried out the attack because his father thwarted a number attempts by members of the paramilitary group to escape from Portlaoise Prison and to smuggle weapons into the high security jail.

Reflect

Mr Stack has said he wants the IRA to admit responsibility for his father’s murder and his family want answers and closure from their discussions with the Sinn Fein president.

They have asked Mr Adams to speak to his contacts about the killing in the hope they can find out who carried it out and why.

“We’re not looking for any form of revenge. We would like to sit down with those people, talk to them and get some form of responsibility.”

Mr Adams, who stepped down as MP for West Belfast to become a member of the Irish parliament two years ago, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.

Speaking after the meeting, the Sinn Fein president told RTE it had been a “good” and “comprehensive discussion”.

“There are many families who are looking for closure. It may be that I won’t be able to help but I certainly have the desire to be of assistance,” Mr Adams said.

He added: “We have each agreed to go off and reflect on what was said. And we have agreed to meet again.”

27 YEARS FOR WIDOW MURDER

A civil servant who brutally killed his elderly neighbour in Nottinghamshire in 2007 has been jailed for at least 27 years after being found guilty at a re-trial.

Peter Kenneth Smith was jailed for life after being unanimously convicted of murdering 71-year-old widow Hilda Owen following a seven-week hearing at Nottingham Crown Court.

Smith, who used a claw hammer and screwdriver to kill Mrs Owen at her home in Skegby, near Mansfield, was originally convicted of murder in December 2008 but was granted a re-trial two years ago after appealing against his conviction.

During the retrial, the prosecution alleged that Smith, now aged 48, had plotted to inherit his next-door neighbour’s house in West Hill.

In a statement issued by Nottinghamshire Police after Wednesday’s verdict, Mrs Owen’s family said: “We are very pleased that the jury has returned a guilty verdict so that, once and for all, we can be rid of any uncertainty that lingered over Smith’s original conviction following his appeal.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Cottee, of Nottinghamshire Police, also issued a statement at the conclusion of the retrial. The officer said: “The evidence against Smith in terms of motive, his behaviour prior to Mrs Owen’s murder and his movements on and immediately after the day of her murder was overwhelming.

“Preparation for the re-trial has obviously placed significant demands upon police time and has also come at a cost to the taxpayer, yet has ultimately reached the same result as the original proceedings.

“This process has also meant that Mrs Owen’s relatives have again had to endure details of the ordeal she would have suffered at the hands of her killer. However, they can now be assured that the man who murdered her has been returned to prison, where he will remain for a very long time.”

A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Owen died from severe head injuries caused by a blunt instrument and a screwdriver, but her body also showed signs of strangulation.

Smith’s original trial heard that days before the murder he created a will in which Mrs Owen left her estate to him. Jurors were also told that Smith, who was employed by the Department for Work and Pensions, had debts of around £35,000.

UNCLE TOLD HE WILL ‘DIE IN JAIL’

A violent bully who killed his great-nephew at a family party by stabbing him in the neck with a wine glass was told today he may die in prison.

Raymond Dupree, 68, was jailed for life for murdering 20-year-old Ryan King at the bash on a sprawling rural estate after he said other young revellers were not “showing enough respect” to him.

A jury at Exeter Crown Court took less than two hours to find Dupree guilty of Mr King’s murder.

The former boxing coach, of Bishops Nympton, near South Molton, Devon, had denied the murder and stood expressionless as the judge passed sentence.

Mr Justice Roderick Evans jailed Dupree for life and fixed a minimum term of 13 years before he could be considered for parole.

He told Dupree: “You killed Ryan King in a fit of temper and annoyance because you were not being shown the respect and deference you thought you deserved, first by a young girl of 13 and second by Ryan.

“When he tried to intervene to calm the situation and to calm you down, you became offensive, obscene and violent.

“You thrust a wine glass into Ryan’s neck, cutting his jugular vein. In reality, he bled to death on the floor of his grandmother’s kitchen.

“The fact that you killed him in front of the people there and particularly the young girls, is in my judgment an aggravating feature of this case.

“Your previous convictions reflect the kind of conduct you indulged in that night – bad temper, bullying, and the use of violence.”

The judge said he accepted Dupree had not intended to kill Mr King but he had wanted to cause him “really serious harm” when he attacked him.

“As you well understand there is only one sentence I can pass and that is of life imprisonment,” he said.

“I accept by fixing this period of 13 years it may well be you will never be released and you will die in custody.”

Mr King calmly stuck up for the 13 and 14-year-old girls when Dupree complained about music being played in the early hours of August 21 last year.

The court heard that the party was being held at the luxury Snurridge House near South Molton to celebrate Mr King’s pregnant mother’s 40th birthday.

Dupree and Mr King were among around 30 people celebrating Lisa Wilson’s birthday at the manor house, which was owned by Dupree’s sister.

The defendant became angry that one girl had broken two glasses, and that the teenagers, who had been drinking, should have been in bed.

Mr King asked Dupree to leave them alone, prompting Dupree to say his relative should “respect his elders”.

Witnesses said Dupree was clenching a glass when he punched Mr King in the neck as the party began to quieten down at about 3am.

As Mr King fell to the floor clutching his wound, Dupree showed him no remorse, saying: “I’ve done him.” He then left and walked home.

A terrified Mr King told shocked onlookers that he thought he was going to die as friends frantically called for help.

Mr King, who was from London, was taken to hospital and died from his injuries.

Dupree told the court that he “could not remember” the details of the incident, including whether he was holding a wine glass at the time he lashed out.

Following the verdict, Detective Inspector Dave Thorne, who led the investigation, said: “Justice has prevailed in this tragic case. It was a needless attack.

“The trauma and loss that family and friends have experienced is beyond comprehension and although a conviction has been achieved, people will live with this loss for the rest of their lives.”

Mr King’s family did not wish to comment as they left court.

POLICE OFFICER MURDERED IN MANCHESTER

BREAKING…..

A female police officer has been shot dead during the arrest of a wanted murder suspect.

Dale Cregan, 29, was being sought in connection with separate gun and grenade attacks that killed a father and son.

Another officer was injured as shots were fired today during the arrest operation on a housing estate in Mottram, Hyde, Greater Manchester, sources said.

A £50,000 reward had been offered for information leading to the arrest of Cregan who police wanted to speak to about the murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23.

David Short was killed at his home in Folkestone Road East, Clayton, Manchester, on August 10, while Mark was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub in nearby Droylsden, on May 25.

A gunman walked into the pub and fired shots which injured three other men.

A post-mortem examination showed Mark Short died from a gunshot wound to the neck.

Four men have been charged in connection with his murder and are due to enter pleas at Manchester Crown Court in November.

Earlier this month a 33-year-old man also appeared at Manchester Crown Court charged with the gun and grenade murder of David Short.

‘MANIAC’ TOLD HE MAY NEVER BE RELEASED

An anti-paedophile vigilante who murdered a gay man he wrongly believed to be a child molester was told today he may never be released from prison.

Christopher Hunnisett, 28, killed supermarket worker Peter Bick, 57, just four months after being freed from jail following his acquittal for a vicar’s murder.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London today.

But the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, warned he was an “extremely dangerous man” who “may well kill again” if released in the foreseeable future.

The judge said: “The time may never come when this defendant is considered safe to be released.”

Mark Leech, editor of the national newspaper for prisoners Converse said it was right to say Hunnisett may never be released.

Mr Leech said: “Lets be frank, he’s a maniac who has killed twice, for reasons that make no sense or reason, the whole life tariff was designed for people like this – there is clearly something seriously wrong with his psychiatric condition.”

Hunnisett has already spent more than nine years in jail for killing the Rev Ronald Glazebrook, 81, in his bath and cutting up his body in April 2001.

But his conviction was quashed and he was cleared of Mr Glazebrook’s murder at a retrial during which he alleged that the priest sexually abused him.

After being freed from prison in September 2010, Hunnisett, of Hastings, East Sussex, made a “hit list” of men he planned to kill in his bid to rid the world of paedophiles.

Having formulated a plan to track down child abusers and rapists while he was in custody, on his release he set up false internet accounts as a “honeytrap” for sex offenders.

Mr Bick, an Asda employee from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, was at the top of Hunnisett’s list of targets, although the prosecution said there was “not a shred of evidence” that he was a paedophile.

Having split up from his long-term partner, the supermarket worker regularly used social networking and dating websites to meet young men for consensual sex, the trial heard.

Overnight on January 10-11 last year, Hunnisett had sex with Mr Bick at his flat before brutally smashing his head with five severe hammer blows and strangling him with a shoelace.

The killer tried to cover his tracks by sending text messages falsely suggesting that the supermarket worker believed he was meeting a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Justice Saunders said Hunnisett went to Mr Bick’s flat prepared to kill him, and carried out a “planned and cold-blooded” attack.

He noted that the defendant had an “intense hatred” of paedophiles, having suffered abuse as a child.

The judge said: “He believes that the penalties handed out by the courts for child abuse are inadequate.

“For him the appropriate penalty, if he considers it necessary, is death. He has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner.

“However good the evidence of child abuse, the defendant was not entitled to take the law into his hands in the way he did but, as he demonstrated in this case, he was prepared to reach his conclusions on entirely inadequate evidence.”

Mr Justice Saunders observed that Hunnisett’s hatred of paedophiles grew during his time in prison, where he might have come into contact with sex offenders who showed a lack of remorse for the harm they committed.

He said: “The evidence that I have heard has driven me to the conclusion that the defendant is now an extremely dangerous man who may well kill again were he to be released in the foreseeable future.

“The parole board will undoubtedly take all that into account when deciding when, and if, this defendant should ever be released.”

David Martin-Sperry, mitigating, said that while in prison Hunnisett was forced to play the role of an abuse victim in therapy sessions organised for sex offenders.

He was then freed after being acquitted of Mr Glazebrook’s murder without being prepared for his release and with no authority responsible for supervising him in the community.

Hunnisett, unshaven in a black and grey casual jacket, made no reaction as his sentence was passed, but mouthed a few words to family members in the public gallery as he was led away by court guards.

Following the case, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “This was a terrible crime, and the jury were clearly unconvinced by Hunnisett’s claims about his motives for carrying out such a cruel and deliberate killing.

“Peter Bick’s sister, together with her husband, was present at court throughout the trial and they had to listen to Christopher Hunnisett deliver utterly unfounded personal attacks about the character of her brother.

“They endured this with great dignity and this is testimony to how they have conducted themselves since Peter was murdered.

“What exactly was motivating Hunnisett in the lead up to the murder and afterwards we will perhaps never really know, but there is no doubt at all that society is a safer place now that he is in prison.”

JURY OUT IN GAY KILLING CASE

The jury trying a man who is accused of murdering a gay supermarket worker has retired to consider its verdict.

Christopher Hunnisett, 28, inflicted five severe blows to Peter Bick’s head with a hammer before walking into Hastings police station and telling them he had killed someone.

Hunnisett, of Chanctonbury Drive, Hastings, East Sussex, denies murdering 57-year-old Mr Bick at his flat in Bexhill on January 11 last year.

Philip Katz QC told the court there was no evidence that Mr Bick, who was a gay man who enjoyed consensual sex with young men, was a paedophile, or that any of the men Hunnisett contacted through the internet and added to a sex offenders “hit list” ever wanted or had relationships with children.

Hunnisett used a number of online aliases to track down men he believed were rapists or paedophiles before putting them through a number of tests he had developed to check he had been given reliable information, the court heard.

He started his campaign to track down sex offenders following his acquittal for the murder of the Rev Ronald Glazebrook at his home in St Leonards-on-Sea in September 2010.

The defendant spent eight years in prison for Mr Glazebrook’s murder before he was released from custody following a retrial, the jury was told.

Four months after his release, Hunnisett walked into Hastings police station and told an officer that he had killed Mr Bick.