Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 12:45 UK

Lawyers defend Pc killer's term

David Bieber
Bieber shot Pc Broadhurst despite him pleading for his life

An attempt by the murderer of a policeman to overturn his "whole life" sentence has been challenged in the Court of Appeal.

David Bieber, 42, shot Pc Ian Broadhurst in the head at point blank range on Boxing Day 2003 in Leeds.

The Court of Appeal heard the killer's jail term was based on the facts in the case and did not amount to a "cruel or unusual punishment" as Bieber claims.

Appeal Court judges have reserved their judgement until a later date.

Beiber is one of 25 people to have been given "whole life" sentences in the UK.

Pc Broadhurst, 34, was shot at point blank range during a routine check on a stolen vehicle, despite pleading with Bieber for his life.

The American was also convicted of the attempted murders of Pcs Neil Roper and James Banks.

Ian Broadhurst
The policeman was shot dead on Boxing Day 2003

Bieber's barrister, Andrew Trollope QC, told the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips the life term was too long given the facts of the case and breached his client's human rights.

In October 2006 the Court of Appeal rejected Bieber's appeal against his convictions, describing the evidence against him as "overwhelming".

On Wednesday, Crown counsel Robert Smith QC told three judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips: "This is not an arbitrary punishment imposed without regard to the merits or the circumstances of the case or of the offender."

Mr Smith said the sentence was passed after "a full judicial assessment of the facts", leading the trial judge to be satisfied that the case was so serious that Bieber should remain in prison for the rest of his life to satisfy the requirements of "retribution and deterrence".

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