The criminals who were handed whole-life orders for their horrific crimes from Wayne Couzens to Ali Harbi Ali
On Wednesday (April 13), homegrown terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, 26, from Kentish Town, was sentenced to a rare whole-life order behind bars for the brutal murder of MP Sir David Amess, who died after being stabbed 20 times at a constituency surgery on October 15, 2021.
University dropout Ali will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, and will never be eligible for parole unless there are exceptional compassionate grounds to warrant it. Being handed the rare order means Ali will join the likes of Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens, and necrophiliac David Fuller who were given the same punishment for their crimes.
Whole-life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes. There were 61 criminals serving whole-life orders, according to Government figures to the end of 2021.
READ MORE: ‘Unrepentant’ London terrorist Ali Harbi Ali ‘pursed his lips’ as he was jailed for life
In December last year, Fuller was handed a whole-life tariff for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987 and the sexual abuse of more than 100 dead women and girls in hospital mortuaries.
Couzens’ whole-life sentence for the murder of Sarah Everard was the first time the tariff has been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack.
Milly Dowler’s killer, Levi Bellfield, is thought to be the only criminal in UK legal history to be serving two whole-life orders – for her murder, the killings of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.
Other notorious criminals serving whole-life orders include: Gloucester serial killer Rose West; Michael Adebolajo, one of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers; Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April Jones in Wales; neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, who killed MP Jo Cox; Grindr serial killer Stephen Port; and more recently the Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah, who murdered three men in a park.
Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and doctor Harold Shipman, thought to be one of Britain’s most prolific serial killers, were also among those serving whole-life orders.
In the past, home secretaries could issue whole-life tariffs and these are now determined by judges. Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the Government is trying to expand the use of whole-life orders for premeditated murder of a child.
The reforms would also allow judges to hand out the maximum sentence to 18- to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, such as for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life.
It would also give judges the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a whole-life order on offenders aged 18 or over but under 21.
Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi, who was convicted of conspiring with his suicide bomber brother Salman Abedi over the 2017 atrocity, avoided a whole life order because he was 21 at the time.
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