Mark Bridger ‘To Die In Jail’…. or will he?

Mark-Bridger

Paedophile Mark Bridger has joined a group of notorious criminals who have been given whole life sentences for their horrific crimes – but commentators suggest that is likely to be quashed by the Court of Appeal .

Bridger, 47, kidnapped five-year-old April Jones, before sexually abusing her, murdering her and then disposing of her body. Her parents Paul, 41, and Coral, 43, are now coming to terms with the fact that Bridger may never reveal what he did with their daughter.

A heartbreaking victim impact statement from April’s mother also revealed how she will always “live with the guilt” of letting April, who had cerebral palsy, play out the night Bridger snatched her away from her loving family.

Bridger, a former slaughterhouse worker, was given a whole life sentence by trial judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams after he was convicted by a jury at Mold Crown Court of April’s abduction and murder and of perverting the course of justice by unlawfully disposing, destroying or concealing her body. Only 47 other criminals in the UK have been handed such sentences.

Sentencing Bridger, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said: “There is no doubt in my mind that you are a paedophile, who has for some time harboured sexual and morbid fantasies about young girls.”

Police believe Bridger dismembered little April’s body before dumping the body parts at various locations in the hills, rivers and forests surrounding his home in Cienws, mid-Wales, after traces of her blood were found all over his rented cottage.

In her statement, read to the court by Elwen Evans QC, prosecuting, Coral Jones said: “Words alone cannot describe how we are feeling or how we manage to function on a daily basis, and I would never, ever want any other family to go through what we are and will go through for the rest of our lives.”

As the sentence was handed down Bridger, wearing a blue shirt and spotted tie, nodded when he was told he would spend the rest of his life behind bars, but shook his head when the judge called him a paedophile.

In a statement, Ed Beltrami, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wales, said: “Ever since his first interview with police in October last year, Mark Bridger has relentlessly spun a web of lies and half-truths to try and distance himself from the truly horrific nature of the crime he perpetrated. He has refused to take responsibility for what he did to April and has stopped at nothing to try and cover his tracks.”

April’s parents said the family was relieved by the verdict. In a statement read outside court, Coral said: “We are relieved that Mark Bridger has today been found guilty of the murder of our beautiful daughter April. April will be forever in our hearts and we are so moved by the overwhelming support we have had from so many people all over the world.”

Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he wondered how many more victims lay at the door of Mark Bridger.

Mr Leech said: “People just do not wake up at the age of 47 and become child sex killers, there needs to be a serious investigation now into the life of Mark Bridger to discover how many more victims may lay at his door.

“The whole life tariff I suspect may be quashed by the Court of Appeal – particularly when you consider Ian Huntley who murdered two girls and David Bieber who executed one police officer and almost murdered two others are not serving whole life tariffs; Bieber who was initially given a whole life tariff had that was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2006 and substituted for a sentence of 37 years.”

Lee Rigby Accused Released From Hospital

Michael Adebowale
Michael Adebowale

One of the men shot by police in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has been discharged from hospital, Scotland Yard said.

The 22-year-old, understood to be Michael Adebowale, from Greenwich, south-east London, was taken into custody at a police station in south London.

He was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Drummer Rigby on May 22, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer. He will now be interviewed by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command.

Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, 28, have been recovering in hospital after they were both shot by armed police in the immediate aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s murder.

The young soldier was hacked to death near Woolwich barracks in south-east London last Wednesday, and since his death detectives have arrested 10 people. These include Adebowale and Adebolajo, as well as a 50-year-old man who was held in Welling, south-east London on Monday and is currently being questioned.

A 22-year-old man arrested in Highbury, north London, on Sunday, and three men detained on Saturday over the killing have all been released on bail, as has a fifth man, aged 29. Two women, aged 29 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but later released without charge.

In the wake of the attack it emerged that Adebolajo and Adebowale were both known to MI5. Adebolajo was also arrested by Kenyan authorities three years ago because they feared he was attempting to join an al Qaida-linked militant group, the country’s anti-terrorism police said.

The murder has sparked a flurry of activity by far right group the English Defence League, and on Monday more than 1,000 supporters marched to Downing Street chanting “Muslim killers off our streets” and “There’s only one Lee Rigby” in tribute to the soldier.

A massive police presence kept them separate from a smaller group of anti-fascist activists, with officers making 13 arrests in total for a range of public order offences. Forces charity Help for Heroes announced it will not accept any donations raised by EDL leader Tommy Robinson or other members of the group, or any political party.

Police are now investigating two attacks by vandals on the RAF Bomber Command memorial and the Animals in War memorial in London. Both were daubed with graffiti and although the words written on the two memorials have now been covered up, it is thought “Islam” had been written on each of them.

Dale Cregan Prison Van Crashes

cregan

A prison van containing Dale Cregan – the killer of Police Constables Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone – was involved in a road collision in the Preston area on the way to court, sources said.

The van was travelling to Preston Crown Court, where Cregan has been on trial.

Four prison officers suffered minor injuries and have been taken to hospital for treatment, while one prisoner was injured, Greater Manchester Police said.

A statement said: “A road traffic collision occurred by the roundabout at the exit of junction 31A of the M6 northbound.

“The collision involved two prison vans on the way to Preston Crown Court as part of a high profile trial.”

Sources said the crash was simply a collision between two prison vans.

It is understood prison vans in convoy have to travel close together so no vehicles can come between them.

During his trial, one-eyed Cregan admitted he murdered four people and attempted to murder three others.

In the second week of the case at Preston he changed his pleas to guilty to killing policewomen Pc Hughes, 23, and Pc Bone, 32, and on Wednesday – in week 17 of the hearing – he admitted to taking the lives of father and son David Short, 46, and Mark Short, 23.

The 29-year-old also changed his pleas to guilty to attempting to murder three other men as he gunned down Mark Short in the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, last May but remains on trial as he continues to deny one remaining count of attempted murder.

It is understood Cregan is not the injured prisoner.

The collision is the second time in eight days that vans containing Cregan and his co-defendants have been involved in a crash.

Last Thursday evening, as the convoy made its way back from Preston to HMP Manchester, two prison vans and a police car were involved in a shunt.

The collision caused damage to both prison vans and minor damage to the police car.

Four prison officers received minor injuries, as did a number of prisoners who were travelling in the vehicles.

 

Worcester child killer anonymity lifted

image

A man who killed three children he was babysitting and impaled them on garden railings has had his anonymity lifted.

David McGreavy, 62, was jailed for life in 1973 for the murders of four-year-old Paul Ralph and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha.

He killed them at their home in Gillam Street, Worcester, in April 1973.

In 2009 a judge imposed a ban on naming him during a hearing to protect him from other prisoners. The High Court has now overturned the ban.

In January, McGreavy made a request to be moved to an open prison and his lawyers had argued that would put his name back in the spotlight and his life at risk.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and media organisations argued the application was legally flawed and wrongly prevented the public from knowing the full facts of the case.

McGreavy was lodging with the family at the house in Gillam Street when he carried out the killings.

‘Monster of Worcester’

Paul had been strangled, Dawn was found with her throat cut, and Samantha died from a compound fracture to the skull.

The killings earned McGreavy the nickname the “Monster of Worcester”.

The anonymity ruling was made in 2009 during a hearing when McGreavy unsuccessfully challenged a ruling that he must remain in Category C prison conditions.

On Wednesday, Guy Vassall-Adams, representing the justice secretary and the media organisations objecting to the ban on naming McGreavy, told the court: “The full facts are exceptionally horrific by even the standard of

“The order restricted the media to saying they were ‘three sadistic murders’ but that doesn’t even give you the half of it.”

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in London with Mr Justice Simon, ruled the anonymity order must be discharged.

The High Court heard David McGreavy had been in prison for 40 years, during which time he had been seriously assaulted in 1975 and 1996 by fellow prisoners.

His counsel Quincy Whitaker told the court naming him would put him in more danger from other prison inmates.

Ms Whitaker told the court McGreavy had previously spent two years in an open prison until “hostile media coverage” led to him being returned to closed conditions “for his own safety”.

The court heard McGreavy was first transferred to category D open conditions in 1994 but the transfer to Leyhill Prison in south Gloucestershire broke down after other inmates learned of his offence.

Ms Whitaker said the triple killings were “notorious” but no concerns had been subsequently raised about his behaviour.

Name change possibleThere were “more than reasonable grounds” for a fair parole hearing that could mean him being returned to open conditions, which was a pre-requisite for release from custody, she said.

The judge held out the possibility that in future McGreavy could be allowed a change of name to protect him.

He said McGreavy’s ninth parole review was under way and a hearing could be held later this year.

Since 2007 McGreavy has made a number of failed bids to win parole, the court heard.

The Worcester MP at that time, Mike Foster, called for McGreavy to never be allowed back to the city and described the murders as an “absolutely vile crime”.

McGreavy is currently living in closed conditions in a vulnerable prisoners’ unit

David McGreavy

  • April 1973 – Murders Paul, Dawn and Samantha Ralph
  • Jailed for life later that year
  • 1994 – Transferred to open prison (category D) then back to closed prison conditions (Category C)
  • 2007 – One of a number of bids for parole refused
  • 2009 – Told he must remain in under closed prison conditions and anonymity order granted
  • May 2013 – Anonymity order lifted with ninth parole review underway

Anonymity ruling due today in killer’s case

Silhouette of a prisoner

The High Court rules today on whether anonymity should continue to be given  to a killer who committed “exceptionally horrific crimes”.

The gagging order was made in response to fears that the killer’s own life would be in danger if his identity received further publicity.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and various media organisations joined together to argue last month that the order was legally flawed and wrongly prevented the public from knowing the full facts of the case.

“The full facts are exceptionally horrific by even the standard of murders,” their counsel Guy Vassall-Adams said.

The order restricted the media to saying they were “three sadistic murders – but that doesn’t even give you the half of it”.

Even “the nature of the victims” could not be publicised, said Mr Vassall-Adams at London’s High Court.

The order was made during the course of a legal challenge by the man, referred to as M, who has spent decades in prison, against a Parole Board decision refusing him a transfer to open conditions.

It was was granted by Mr Justice Simon, who dismissed M’s parole challenge earlier this year.

He rejected submissions from the Press Association that allowing anonymity set a precedent for other high-profile prisoners to seek similar orders.

Because of the widespread implications, the issue returned to court in April for a full hearing before Lord Justice Pitchford.

Mr Vassall-Adams told the judges M’s lawyers were arguing the case was about “whether the media should be allowed to imperil (M’s) life or scupper his chances of rehabilitation”.

He said those arguments really applied to a different type of case in which individuals – like Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who killed James Bulger – were provided with a new identity and there were injunctions against the media aimed at protecting them from being attacked while living in the community.

“The injunction protects confidential information, which is the new identities. It doesn’t prevent the media reporting what is already public,” said Mr Vassall-Adams.

M had already been in prison over 30 years serving multiple life sentences and there was no imminent prospect of him being released – “furthermore his identity has not only been public but received massive previous publicity”.

Anyone interested in finding out about his crimes could do so by a click of a button on the internet, Mr Vassall-Adams said.

Not allowing the nature of his victims to be identified “masked” what the case was about, which was the Parole Board’s refusal to recommend that he was fit for open conditions.

“Understanding the nature of the victims and the terrible treatment meted out to them gives a completely different complexion to this whole case”, Mr Vassall-Adams said.

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.”

Prisoner ‘Disembowelled’ in Frankland Cell


Two inmates have been charged with murdering a convicted child rapist found “disembowelled” in his cell at an English prison.

Mitchell Harrison, 23, who had been jailed for the rape of a 13-year-old schoolgirl, was discovered dead in his cell Sunday 2nd October by staff at HM Prison Frankland in Durham, north-east England, Sky News reported.

He was convicted of child rape last year and given an indefinite prison sentence.

The Daily Mail reported that Harrison had been disembowelled by makeshift weapons, believed to be razor blades melted into toothbrush handles, apparently after boasting about his sickening crime. The newspaper said the two suspects turned themselves in to prison officials.

The alleged killers, aged 32 and 23, are due to appear in court tomorrow. A third man who was arrested by detectives is no longer being held in connection with the incident.

The cell where Harrison was found was cordoned off pending a full forensic examination.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman said, “we are carrying out a full investigation into the circumstances leading to this man’s death and are working closely with the prison service”