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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Notorious convicts face reviews
'Free Satpal' campaign
There have been public protests over Ram's detention
Some of the most notorious names in British crime history are among the 1,300 convicted murderers who may have their terms reviewed following the European court ruling on life sentences.

Winston Silcott, Harry Roberts, Satpal Ram and Myra Hindley could benefit from the government's defeat.

A Home Office spokesman said the Parole Board was preparing to hear 440 oral hearings over the next year.

Silcott, 42, was jailed for life in 1986 for the murder of boxer Anthony Smith two years before.
Winston Silcott
Silcott claimed he acted in self-defence

He was cleared of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985, and received 50,000 damages from the Metropolitan Police.

The Court of Appeal refused in 1998 to overturn his Smith conviction, despite claims he acted in self defence when he stabbed Smith to death at a party in Hackney, north London.

New witnesses backed Silcott's claims that Smith was armed with a knife and had appeared to threaten him.

Ram has served 15 years for the murder of Clarke Pearce in a fight in a Bengali restaurant in Lozells, Birmingham, in 1986.

'No release'

He claimed he was only defending himself against an unprovoked racial attack on him by Pearce, who was white.

Satpal Ram
Ram has served 15 years

Ram was stabbed twice with broken glass and he killed Pearce using a small packing knife he used in his warehouseman job.

Jack Straw, who was home secretary in 1999, overruled the Parole Board which said Ram should be released on licence.

Roberts, 65, who was jailed for the murder of three unarmed police officers in 1966, was given a tariff of 30 years.

The judge, Mr Justice Glyn-Jones, described it as "the most heinous crime to have been committed in this country for a generation or more."

Hindley and Ian Brady were given life sentences in 1966 for killing Lesley Ann Downey, 10, John Kilbride, 12, and Edward Evans, 17

Mother's anger

The nation was outraged at the murders and despite legal bids for freedom, Hindley was told by Jack Straw she would never be released from prison.

The news of Tuesday's European Court ruling has angered the mother of Keith Bennett, a 12-year-old victim of the Hindley and Brady.

The boy's body has never been found and Winnie Johnson told the BBC: "If they (the European Court) can overrule our bloody law, they are going to let the whole lot of them out and it's not fair on the families of those murdered by them."

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