British triple murderer plans rights appeal to EC

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A BRITISH triple murderer is trying to delay his extradition from the Netherlands to resume a life sentence in Broadmoor by taking his case to the European Commission in Strasbourg.

His lawyer is arguing that a Dutch judge has declared that Alan Reeve, who escaped from Broadmoor in 1981, is fit and sane and that his rights would be infringed if he returned to Broadmoor. Reeve is present in hiding in northern Holland: a judge set him free after the Home Office bungled its first attempt to get him deported.

The legal battle began 15 months ago when Reeve, now 45, was released from jail in the Netherlands after serving a sentence for killing an Amsterdam policeman.

Reeve had already murdered twice when he escaped from Broadmoor and fled to Amsterdam with his girlfriend. A year later, he shot dead Jaap Honingh and seriously injured another detective during a raid on an off-licence.

His case has since become a cause celebre in the Netherlands. While still on the run, he was given a top job with a Dutch prisoners' rights pressure group after qualifying as a lawyer while in jail.

Even among Broadmoor inmates used to sometimes murderous behaviour, he was regarded with awe after strangling a fellow inmate. But while British doctors have described him as a dangerous psychopath, a Dutch court ruled a year ago that he was no longer a danger

Because of this ruling, his Dutch lawyer, Arnoud Willems, claims that the deportation order and subsequent reincarceration in Broadmoor would breach Articles 3 and 5 of the Treaty of Rome because it amounts to 'inhumane behaviour' and would infringe on Reeve's fundamental freedoms.

Mr Willems said: 'How can you deem a man free and sane in one country but send him to another and lock him up in a hospital for the criminally insane? They can catch him and send him back to England. But I am preparing our case and it will be ready to send to Strasbourg next week.'

Reeve's story has received great attention in the Netherlands, where he graduated in law from Leiden University and joined the Coornhert Liga, the country's leading prison reform group, equivalent to the Howard League for Penal Reform. Reeve had earlier gained a sociology degree after studying while in Broadmoor.

Yesterday the group said it was standing by Reeve, who is being hunted by the Dutch police. Jacco Boek, a member of the group's board, said the triple killer's inside knowledge was invaluable to the group and that he would still work for it even if he went back to Broadmoor.

Reeve's fight to stay in the Netherlands seems to have been aided initially by an attempt by the Home Office to strike a back-door deal with the Dutch, who were asked to deport him quietly on his parole from prison.

But this backfired when a Dutch judge at an early deportation hearing condemned the clandestine negotiations and set Reeve free. That decision was overruled last month when the president of the appeal court in Zwolle ruled that Reeve could now be deported.

Officials in Britain continue to insist that Reeve is a highly dangerous psychopath and cite a report from a Broadmoor doctor who was sent to assess him while he was a prisoner in the Scheveningen high-security prison in The Hague. The doctor's report stated that it was still appropriate for Reeve to be subject to a hospital restriction order under the Mental Health Act.

Reeve's life has been an appalling catalogue of violent crime, which began while he was at school. He was sent to Broadmoor at the age of 15 for clubbing and stabbing to death his first victim, 15-year-old Roger Jackson, whose body was found in Castle Park, Colchester, in August 1964.

Roger, from Harlington, Bedfordshire, had been on a cycling holiday, touring youth hostels, when he disappeared, sparking a huge hunt. His body was found under gorse bushes by a man walking his dog and his red bicycle was later discovered nearby.

So callous was Reeve that he sent three postcards, which he found in Roger Jackson's bag, to the dead boy's parents,having written on each the letters 'DOA' - hospital shorthand for Dead on Arrival.

Four years later, he strangled fellow Broadmoor inmate Billy Doyle, aged 21, following a row in a common room at the hospital.

After the murder, Reeve's status at Broadmoor was upgraded to a highly dangerous category, but for the next 13 years he appeared to settle down and apply himself to studying for his sociology degree.

However, in 1981 the Broadmoor escape siren sounded when Reeve rushed to the high hospital walls and clambered over, but he escaped. He was met by his then girlfriend, who is believed to have driven him straight to the Harwich ferry en route for the Netherlands.

(Photograph omitted)