England

Yorkshire Ripper bids to challenge 'whole life' tariff

Peter Sutcliffe
Image caption Sutcliffe was never given a minimum term when he was sentenced

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has started a bid to challenge a High Court order that he can never be released from prison.

Last month a judge refused an application made by the 64-year-old to have a minimum term set to give him the chance of parole.

He received 20 life sentences in 1981 for murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others.

The serial killer is detained at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.

At a hearing on 16 July, Mr Justice Mitting ruled the former Bradford lorry driver, now known as Peter Coonan, must serve a "whole life" tariff.

In making his judgement he said: "Apart from a terrorist outrage, it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which one man could account for so many victims.

"Those circumstances alone make it appropriate to set a whole life term."

Sutcliffe used a hammer to attack his first victim on 5 July 1975.

He is said to have believed he was on a "mission from God" to kill prostitutes - although not all of his victims were sex workers.

Mutilated bodies

He was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated his victims' bodies using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.

He has spent nearly all his years in custody at Broadmoor in Berkshire after being diagnosed as mentally ill, but refused treatment until 1993 when the Mental Health Commission ruled it should be given forcibly.

A judge recently refused to allow fresh psychiatric evidence, which said he posed a "low risk of reoffending" to be admitted as part of the tariff-setting exercise.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Communications Office confirmed Sutcliffe had now started appeal moves.

She said: "I can now confirm that an application for leave to appeal the whole life order by Justice Mitting has been lodged with the Court of Appeal."

No date has been fixed for the hearing.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites