'Yorkshire Ripper' must die in jail: British court

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The "Yorkshire Ripper", one of Britain's most notorious serial killers, must spend the rest of his life in jail, the Court of Appeal ruled Friday, rejecting his legal challenge.

Peter Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others in Yorkshire and in Manchester, northern England, in a case which horrified Britain. He received 20 life sentences.

The 64-year-old, now known as Peter Coonan, applied to have a minimum term set to give him the chance of parole, but his bid was rejected by the High Court last year.

On Friday, Sutcliffe lost his legal challenge against that ruling, with a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal rejecting the bid.

The truck driver's murderous campaign against prostitutes and young women between 1975 and 1980 sparked widespread fear across Britain until he was arrested in January 1981.

He would batter women over the head with a hammer and stab them in the chest and abdomen with a knife or a screwdriver.

Lord Igor Judge, the head of England's judiciary and one of the panel, said: "Each of the attempted murders, as well as each of the murder offences, taken on its own was a dreadful crime of utmost brutality.

"Taking all the offences together, we have been considering an accumulation of criminality of exceptional magnitude which went far beyond the legislative criteria for a whole-life order.

"Even accepting that an element of mental disturbance was intrinsic to the commission of these crimes, the interests of justice require nothing less than a whole-life order.

"That is the only available punishment proportionate to these crimes."

© 2011 AFP

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