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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 16:06 GMT
Sex killer granted parole chance
Saughton prison
Duncan was reportedly caught with drugs in Saughton
One of Scotland's longest-serving life prisoners has been given the chance to apply for parole.

Arthur Duncan, from Aberdeen, was jailed for the rape and murder of clerk Linda Bull in Hampshire in 1970.

The 50-year-old appeared at the High Court in Glasgow to have the punishment element of his life sentence determined under new human rights legislation.

Prison officer
The sex killer was jailed in 1970
Duncan can now ask the Parole Board to release him if it is satisfied that he is no longer a danger to the public

The inmate was an 18-year-old soldier in the Royal Artillery when he raped and strangled county court clerk Linda Bull with her stockings in Andover.

The victim's body was later discovered in a garden.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Monday, the judge, Lord Maclean, said that there was "very little information" before him relating to Duncan's case.

'Disturbing material'

He ordered the punishment to be set at 10 years which means that Duncan can now approach the Parole Board and ask for release.

Duncan has been the subject of a series of newspaper reports during his detention in Saughton Prison in Edinburgh.

It was reported that he was caught with cannabis in 1994 and heroin in 1998.

He was also alleged to have been caught with women's underwear and "disturbing material", including pictures on a separate occasion in 1998.

Hospital murders

In separate case, a Glasgow man responsible for one of Scotland's most horrific murders, has been told that he too can apply for parole.

James Harkins, 51, was jailed in 1980 for murdering his wife, their son and his brother-in-law in a creche at Gartnaval Hospital in Glasgow, where he worked as a mortuary attendant.

The judge, Lord Wylie, told him it might be that on the basis of medical reports he would never be released to be a danger to the public.

He added: "A life sentence in your case is liable to be just that."

The final decision on whether he can go free will rest with the Parole Board.

See also:

25 Feb 02 | Scotland
Lifers' jail terms are reviewed
25 Feb 02 | Scotland
Lifers learn their fate
08 Oct 01 | Scotland
Ministers lose parole powers
29 May 01 | Scotland
Deal unlocks prisons dispute
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