Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 18:28 UK

Yorkshire Ripper tariff hearing set for summer

Peter Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe murdered 13 women during a killing spree in northern England

Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, will have his plea not to spend the rest of his life behind bars considered by the courts this summer.

The serial killer's application to have a tariff set which could lead to parole is due to be heard at the High Court in London on 16 July, it has emerged.

The 63-year-old former lorry driver from Bradford was convicted in 1981.

He received 20 life sentences for the murders of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven others.

A judge at the Old Bailey in London recommended that he serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars.

'Low risk'

Now known as Peter Coonan, his name was not on a Home Office list, published in 2006, of 35 murderers serving "whole life" sentences and he was given no formal minimum sentence.

He is currently being held in Broadmoor top security psychiatric hospital after being transferred from prison in 1984 suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Dr Kevin Murray, the psychiatrist who has been in charge of Sutcliffe's care since 2001, said in a 2006 report that he now posed a "low risk of reoffending".

In setting his tariff, the High Court is expected to take account of the gravity of his crimes, whether or not he has made "exceptional" progress in custody, the state of his mental health and any representations from him, his victims or their families.

Whatever the outcome of the tariff hearing, he will only be freed if the authorities consider he no longer poses a serious danger to the public.

The court will have power to set a definite number of years which Sutcliffe must serve before being eligible for parole, or rule that he must spend the rest of his life locked up.



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SEE ALSO
'No release' for Yorkshire Ripper
23 Mar 10 |  Bradford
Ripper seeks ruling on sentence
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Police investigate Ripper attack
28 Dec 07 |  England
Yorkshire Ripper hurt in attack
24 Dec 07 |  England
Profile: UK serial killers
12 Dec 06 |  UK

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