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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 09:32 GMT
Killer serving life 'wants baby'
European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
The European Court of Human Rights will hear the appeal
A murderer serving life in prison is again appealing to be allowed to father a child by artificial insemination.

Lawyers for Kirk Dickson, 34, and his wife Lorraine, 48, will put their case before judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

They married in jail in 2001. Mrs Dickson now lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, but her husband will not be released before 2009.

They lost their first appeal at the European court last April.

Their new appeal will be heard by 17 judges sitting in the court's Grand Chamber.

'Exceptional' cases

The couple met through a prison pen pal scheme in 1999 while Mrs Dickson was also in jail.

Mr Dickson was sent to Dovergate Prison, Uttoxeter, for life in 1995, with a minimum sentence of 15 years.

After Mrs Dickson's release, the Home Office turned down the couple's request to try for a child.

They turned to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming a violation of their "right to respect for private and family life" and "right to marry and found a family", both guaranteed by the Human Rights Convention.

At their appeal, solicitors for the couple said that given Mr Dickson's release date and his wife's age, it was unlikely they would be able to conceive naturally.

Child's welfare

They said Mrs Dickson should be given immediate access to artificial insemination facilities.

By a 4-3 majority decision, the human rights judges rejected the case.

The majority verdict said careful consideration had been given to the couple's circumstances, "including the unlikely event of the couple being able to conceive after Mr Dickson's release from prison".

The judgment said the home secretary at the time had concluded that such factors were outweighed by "the nature and gravity of Mr Dickson's crime and the welfare of any child who might be conceived, in the light of the prolonged absence of the father for an important part of its childhood years."

Mrs Dickson already has three children from an earlier relationship.

The Home Office said applications from prisoners for artificial insemination were granted only in "exceptional" circumstances: out of about 50 requests, seven had been accepted.


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