Whole-life sentences overturned

Herald Series: Danilo Restivo had his 'whole-life' tariff overturned by the Court of Appeal Danilo Restivo had his 'whole-life' tariff overturned by the Court of Appeal

A hair fetishist who murdered and mutilated a mother of two has won an appeal against an order which prevented him from ever being released.

Danilo Restivo had his "whole-life" tariff overturned by the Court of Appeal. He was ordered to serve a minimum term of 40 years instead.

Five judges in London also announced that they were reducing the whole-life order imposed on "Bermondsey Beast" rapist Michael Roberts to a minimum term of 25 years. But the court refused to quash the whole-life order in the case of killer David Oakes, who "sadistically tortured" his former partner before shooting her and their two-year-old daughter.

The panel, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, also upheld the 30-year minimum term imposed on Kiaran Stapleton, who was jailed for life after he "executed" a stranger in the street.

Although the judges overturned the whole-life orders in the cases of Restivo and Roberts, they announced that the imposition of such orders was not incompatible with Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.

The appellants are all still subject to life sentences. Those with a minimum term can apply for parole once that has expired, but they would not be released until they are deemed to no longer pose a threat to the public.

Lord Judge said he thought it was "highly unlikely" that any of the five would be released.

The minimum term imposed in the case of Restivo is the equivalent of an 80-year determinate term, with the 25 years in the case of Roberts being the equivalent of 50 years.

Restivo was given a whole-life tariff in June last year for the "depraved" and "callous" murder and mutilation of a mother of two in Bournemouth. The Italian national, now 40, was found guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of the 2002 murder of neighbour Heather Barnett, 48.

Rapist Roberts, who terrorised elderly women in a London suburb for more than a decade, was jailed in January and told he would live out his days behind bars. Roberts, now 46, joined a small group of "life means life" prisoners after raping three victims - one aged 83 - and viciously attacking a fourth in Bermondsey, south London. He evaded justice for 15 years but was captured after a cold case review by Scotland Yard.

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