Beds, Herts & Bucks

Jailed Buckinghamshire killer's plea for damages

A man who killed his neighbour wants to claim damages at the High Court because he believes he has no chance of proving he is safe for release from prison.

Paul Flinders, who is a schizophrenic, admitted the manslaughter of Wendy Holmes by diminished responsibility and was jailed for life in 2003.

Delays by the Department of Justice and the Parole Board have breached his right to liberty, the court heard.

Flinders' minimum tariff of five years expired in May 2007, the court heard.

Since then he has been repeatedly turned down either for release or a move to a lower security ranking and is still classified as a highly dangerous, Category A, prisoner.

His legal team told the High Court he is in a "perverse Catch 22" situation where he has no fair chance of proving he is safe for release.

Voices in head

Flinders knifed 51-year-old Ms Holmes 19 times in the chest, abdomen and lower face. When her body was discovered in May 2002 she was found in the cruciform position.

Flinders claimed he could not remember attacking her, but accepted he had done it and said he deserved a life sentence.

He was on schizophrenia medication at the time and had been hearing voices in his head, urging him to kill, the court heard.

Barrister Philip Rule argued it is "irrational and wrong" that he has not been given access to all the risk assessments and behavioural courses he needs to prove that he is now safe to be released into the community.

His "frustration, stress and anxiety" at delays that have plagued his case and his "static position" in the prison system threaten his progress behind bars, Mr Rule argued.

Flinders is seeking court declarations that the director of High Security, the Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board have failed him, as well as damages under the Human Rights Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.

All three are defending the case.

Mr Justice Lindblom gave directions for the disclosure and exchange of evidence in the case, which is due for a full hearing at the High Court in April.

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