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Thursday, 5 November, 1998, 13:35 GMT
Hindley loses life sentence appeal
Hindley: Home Office will "strongly contest" further appeals
Moors murderer Myra Hindley has lost her appeal against Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to keep her in prison for the rest of her life.

Following the ruling at the Court of Appeal, Hindley's lawyers were given immediate leave to take the appeal to the House of Lords.

Three High Court judges led by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Bingham, ruled that whole life tariffs were lawful, providing that prisoners could still be released in "exceptional circumstances".

It was a victory for a succession of Home Secretaries - Mr Straw is the most recent - who have decided that "pitiless and wicked" murderers like Hindley should never be released.

Campaigners called the appeal "disgusting"
In a statement on behalf of Hindley, her solicitors said that the appeal judges had nonetheless expressed "grave concerns" over the whole life tariff.

"The decision of the Court of Appeal was clearly difficult and finely balanced.

"We are disappointed that the court accepted that Ms Hindley's further confessions in 1987 were sufficient reason for the Home Secretary to increase his provisional 30-year tariff to whole life."

Hindley was convicted in May 1966, along with Ian Brady, of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.

Brady was additionally convicted for life for murdering 12-year-old John Kilbride.

Both later confessed to the further killings of Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12, burying their bodies on Saddleworth Moor on the edge of the Peak District.

ian brady
Brady: Accomplice
The fresh confessions actually counted against Hindley and contributed to the Home Secretary's decision never to release her.

Hindley's statement said this was "contrary to public policy" and would discourage other convicted killers from confessing to additional murders.

But the judge said it was reasonable for the Home Secretary to have used that evidence to increase the tariff because Hindley had shown "a much greater level of involvement" with Brady than she had previously admitted.

The Home Office welcomed the Court of Appeal's decision and said it would continue to "strongly" contest any further appeals.

Hindley supporter Lord Longford said he no longer expected to see her released in his lifetime, adding: "The fight goes on."

Danny Kilbride, brother of 12-year-old victim John Kilbride, said he was pleased with the decision and described Hindley's appeal as "disgusting".

He said: "It's great stuff to hear but I think it's really the only thing they could have decided anyway."

Anne West, the mother of Lesley Ann Downey, said: "This is one day I've been waiting for.

"Now I've got something to live for knowing I don't have the worry of her getting out."

The 'life means life' tariff was first imposed on Hindley in 1990 by the then Home Secretary David Waddington.

The decision was confirmed by his successor Michael Howard and approved by Mr Straw last November.

BBC News
The BBC's Daniel Sandford: "Next step will be to appeal to the House of Lords"
BBC News
The BBC's Peter Gould reports from the Appeal Court
BBC News
The BBC's Joshua Rozenberg: "Release could damage confidence in the criminal justice system"
BBC News
Lord Longford: "No Christian would want anyone to serve more than 30 years"
BBC News
Former Hindley cell-mate Janie Jones: "She's very dangerous"
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