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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 13:15 GMT
Nail bomber must serve 50 years
David Copeland
Copeland admitted killing three and injuring 139 people in 1999
Nail bomber David Copeland must serve at least 50 years behind bars for the three London murders he carried out in 1999, a High Court judge has ruled.

Copeland, now 30, was given six life sentences in June 2000 for three counts of murder and three counts of causing explosions in order to endanger life.

Under new legislation, a High Court judge set a minimum term of 50 years in a case of "exceptional gravity".

Copeland, from Cove, Hants, admitted killing three and injuring 139 people.

The original recommendation in his case was that he should serve a minimum of 30 years before he can be considered for parole.

Admiral Duncan
Copeland's campaign ended in the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub
But on Friday, Mr Justice Burton described it as a "really exceptional case of deliberate, multiple murder".

During 13 days in April 1999 Copeland caused explosions in Brixton, south London; Brick Lane, east London; and Soho, central London.

The final blast at the gay pub the Admiral Duncan killed Andrea Dykes, 27, who was pregnant, and friends John Light, 32, and Nik Moore, 31, from Essex.

Copeland intended his bombing campaign to ignite a race war across Britain, his trial heard.

Mr Justice Burton said there was only one mitigating factor in sentencing Copeland - the age of the defendant, who was 22 at the time.

"When the defendant has served the minimum term, and if the parole board decides to direct his release, he will remain on licence for the rest of his life and may be recalled to prison at any time."

David Copeland's bedroom
Police found Nazi imagery in David Copeland's bedroom
Copeland was tried for murder at the Old Bailey in 2000 after the prosecution refused to accept his plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds that he was suffering a mental illness - paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Justice Burton said on Friday: "A defence was put forward by the defendant of diminished responsibility, which the jury rejected, but it was in any event clear that the defendant suffered from a serious mental condition."

A Broadmoor Hospital consultant had described him as psychotic and diagnosed schizophrenia.

The original trial judge, Michael Hyam, concluded that Copeland's crimes were motivated by his hatred of black and Asian people and homosexuals.

The judge said: "His avowed aim was to kill, maim and terrorise. His motivation was hatred of the communities he attacked.

"The making and laying of the explosive device was long planned and carried out without compunction."

The period of 13 months and 26 days served on remand by Copeland will be taken into account, so he must serve a minimum prison sentence of 48 years, 10 months and four days from the date in 2000 when he was originally sentenced.

Profile: Copeland the killer
30 Jun 00 |  UK News
Copeland in court
30 Jun 00 |  UK News
The Soho bomb victims
30 Jun 00 |  UK News

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