Murderers lose whole-life challenge

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Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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Two murderers have lost challenges against orders that they can never be released from prison.

Jamie Reynolds, a “sexual deviant” who lured a teenage girl to her death, and former soldier Anwar Rosser, who savagely killed a child, had their cases rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London.

The ruling was made today by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Mr Justice Sweeney.

The court announced in both cases that there was “no basis on which it can properly be argued that a whole-life order was not required”.

The punishment handed out for the “horrific” murders was “just”, said Lord Thomas.

Rosser, now 34, who admitted murdering four-year-old Riley Turner in a “savage and gratuitous” attack, was handed a whole-life tariff by a judge at Bradford Crown Court in February.

He was staying the night at the boy’s home in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in January last year when he stabbed and strangled the “happy and bubbly” child as he lay in his bed.

Stafford Crown Court was told by prosecutor David Crigman QC that Reynolds carried out a ”scripted, sadistic and sexually-motivated murder” and planned the killing meticulously.

He described Reynolds as a manipulative individual and ”a sexual deviant” who had ”a morbid fascination in pornography depicting violence towards young women in a sexual context since at least 2008”.

Sentencing Reynolds, Mr Justice Wilkie said he agreed with a psychiatric report that he ”had the potential to progressing to become a serial killer”.

He duped Miss Williams, 17, into going to his home for a photo-shoot, but he killed her. A post-mortem examination showed she died of asphyxia as a result of pressure to the neck, probably caused by a ligature.

Her body was eventually found in a stream in remote woodland near Wrexham.

His appeal centred on the amount of credit to be given in relation to his age and guilty plea.

In Rosser’s case, the appeal judges were urged to find that a whole-life term was “manifestly excessive”, and that a “very long” finite minimum term should have been imposed instead

Both appeals were contested by the prosecution.

Lord Thomas said Reynolds carried out a “carefully planned, sadistic and sexually motivated murder”.

He said: “It is clear from the statement of Georgia’s father provided to the trial judge that Georgia had been part of a warm and loving family.

“At school she was a student mentor and counsellor and had become head girl. She was a corporal in the RAF Air Cadets and loved outdoor life. Her dream was to join the air force.

“He described how the actions of Reynolds had not only taken Georgia’s life but taken the life of her family as well.”

Lord Thomas added: “Her father said he was not ashamed to say that each day he cried endlessly. His wife cried herself to sleep each night and was violently woken by dreams and images of what had happened to Georgia.

“It is clear from a further statement provided to this court that the family’s grief and suffering will never abate.”

Lord Thomas said the court had “no doubt” that the trial judge took into account all the circumstances of the case.

He added: “As to the mitigating factors, the judge rightly gave little weight to the guilty plea. Reynolds did not admit he committed the killing until a few days before the trial. The evidence was overwhelming and we can find nothing in the psychiatric evidence that in any way justifies the failure to admit the killing, even if the mental element needed investigation. He showed no remorse.

“As to Reynolds’s young age, it was clear from the evidence … that the determination to commit the kind of grotesque murder he carried out was of long standing, the planning for the murder was very careful, the suffering inflicted was indescribable, and motivation both sadistic and sexual.

“There is no psychiatric evidence that in any way provides any exculpatory explanation.”

The trial judge “was plainly entitled to conclude … that the only just punishment for the murder of Georgia was a whole-life order”.

When dismissing Rosser’s challenge, Lord Thomas said the sentencing judge had properly taken into account his “considerable remorse”.

He said: “The criticism of the judge in respect of the account he took of Rosser’s antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy is misplaced.

“The judge took it into account, but made clear that its extent should not be overstated as none of the experts suggested that the disorders significantly reduced culpability.

“It is evident, in our view, that the judge took into account all the circumstances of the case. He was entitled to give to each of those circumstances the weight he gave them.

“This was plainly a murder of a young child that was sadistically and sexually motivated.

“The judge was entitled to conclude that the only just punishment for the murder of Riley was a whole-life order.”

Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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