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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 15:46 GMT
Teacher killer loses jail appeal
Learco Chindamo
Chindamo killed Philip Lawrence outside the gates of a school
The killer of a London head teacher, who was stabbed outside his school, has lost an appeal against a ruling returning him to a closed prison.

Learco Chindamo murdered Philip Lawrence outside St George's Roman Catholic school, Maida Vale, in 1995.

Chindamo was later moved to an open prison, but Home Secretary John Reid has overturned the measure.

Chindamo challenged the home secretary at the High Court, but his appeal was rejected.

Lawyers acting for Chindamo accused the home secretary of acting improperly in an attempt to save political face.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

Chindamo was one of 25 prisoners moved back to a closed jail last year.

It followed media coverage of the failure to deport criminals to their native countries and the risk of them escaping from low-security prisons.

Flo Krause, appearing for Chindamo, who is now 26, argued his clients removal to a more secure prison was "knee-jerk reaction to frenzied media attention".

She said the move amounted to unlawful discrimination and a disproportionate interference with Chindamo's human rights.

Mr Justice Underhill, sitting at the High Court, rejected the appeal and dismissed Chindamo's application for judicial review.

The judge called the killing of Mr Lawrence "notorious and shocking" but said it had played no part in the decision to refuse the appeal.

Interference 'justified'

He denied the decision to move Chindamo from Ford open prison, West Sussex, to Blakenhurst prison, Redditch, Worcestershire, as "irrational and disproportionate".

He said all foreign life-term prisoners were transferred to closed prisons in May without individual circumstances being taken into account.

The judge also said any interference with Chindamo's human rights had been justified under the circumstances.

Chindamo was a member of a teenage street gang who murdered Mr Lawrence outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, north west London, in December 1995.

The popular headmaster was killed after he tried to protect a pupil from the gang.


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