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|HOME > NEWS / SHOWBIZ > UK NEWS > Taxpayer to foot Ripper's £500,000 bid for freedom|
TAXPAYER TO FOOT RIPPER'S £500,000 BID FOR FREEDOM
YORKSHIRE RIPPER: Most recent picture of Sutcliffe
Thursday August 5,2010
By John Twomey
THE Yorkshire Ripper launched a fresh bid to get out of jail yesterday - and landed taxpayers with a bill that will come to almost £500,000.
Peter Sutcliffe's lawyers are to challenge a High Court judge's order that he must spend the rest of his life behind bars.
His case will be heard at the Court of Appeal and is almost certain to be dismissed. It is likely he will then go to the Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights.
The time-consuming legal battle will be paid for out of public funds with the final bill nearing £500,000.
Last month, Mr Justice Mitting rejected the Ripper's pleas to give him some hope of freedom.
Sutcliffe, 63, who has since adopted his mother's maiden name of Coonan, is serving life in Broadmoor secure hospital for the murders of 13 women and the attempted murders of seven others.
He claimed he was driven by a "mission from God" to kill prostitutes, but not all of his victims were street girls.
He was given 20 life sentences at the Old Bailey in 1981 but never had a lifer's tariff - the minimum time spent in jail before being eligible for release.
Mr Justice Mitting said at the earlier hearing: "Apart from a terrorist outrage, it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which one man could account for so many victims.
"Those circumstances alone make it appropriate to set a whole life term. The brutality and gravity of the offences speak for themselves."
His ruling was welcomed by relatives of the killer's victims but they were furious when the hearing was told psychiatrists recommended Sutcliffe's release from Broadmoor.
Experts who concluded that he no longer posed a serious risk to the public proposed dealing with Sutcliffe in a way that usually means a patient becomes eligible for day release.
But the mental health tribunal has no statutory power and the final decision rests with Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.
Doctors say Sutcliffe "suffers from a chronic treatable mental illness for which he has been willing to accept appropriate treatment which has contained it for many years".
A report from Kevin Murray, the psychiatrist who has been in charge of Sutcliffe's care since 2001, revealed that he started taking anti-psychotic medicine in 1993 and Mr Justice Mitting wrote that the Ripper had "persevered with it ever since".
The judge said: "He has been well behaved and posed no threat to other inmates. Jehovah's Witnesses who have befriended him for more than 15 years are emphatic that he shows remorse for his crimes."
But, he added, Sutcliffe's whole life tariff was justified.
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