Lord chancellor: Huntley should never be released

The lord chancellor has insisted that killers such as Soham murderer Ian Huntley should never be freed from prison.

Lord Falconer told the Sunday Telegraph that the public would lose confidence in the criminal justice system if some of Britain’s most infamous murderers did not see out their days behind bars.

Earlier this month the country’s most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, claimed that the UK risked having a prison population of “geriatric lifers” if mandatory life sentences for murderers were not scrapped.

Huntley, 33, was convicted of killing ten-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2003; receiving a minimum sentence of 40 years.

And Lord Falconer says the “heinousness” of his crimes and the public expectation for “retribution” means Huntley should die in prison.

“There will be some people who I think should stay in prison for the rest of their natural life. They should still stay in because the heinousness of their crime means that the public would expect that,” he told the newspaper.

“[Lord Phillips] referred to geriatric lifers – well there will be some and I think if you want confidence in the system that’s got to be the position.”

The lord chancellor also cited moors murderer Ian Brady and Robert Black, who was sentenced to 35 years behind bars in 1994 for the abduction and murder of three girls and a failed abduction of a teenager, as killers who should never be released.

“Ian Brady is somebody I would have thought should stay in for the rest of his natural life. Robert Black is another. It is extremely difficult to see circumstances in which Ian Huntley could ever be released,” he elaborated.

“Those are three obvious examples. It is because of dangerousness but it is also because society does require retribution in those sorts of cases and if it doesn’t get it people will not be confident of the criminal justice system.”

Brady is among a group of about 35 murderers who were told by sentencing judges they would see out their days in prison, but neither Huntley nor Black are on the list.