Court of Appeal rejects bid for anonymity by notorious killer with mental health problems as he seeks parole
The man still cannot be named as he is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court in the wake of the ruling
Wednesday 16 July 2014
A notorious murderer who brutally stabbed his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend to death in a “horrific” attack has lost his fight to remain anonymous as he attempts to get parole.
The Court of Appeal rejected the killer’s bid for anonymity, in a unanimous decision by three judges today. They ruled that he should not be allowed to keep his identity secret from the public.
But the man cannot yet be named as he is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court in the wake of the ruling.
The double murderer, X, wants the right to remain anonymous while he seeks rehabilitation for his crimes - which took place in 1996 – and his lawyers argued X is entitled to anonymity because he is a hospital patient receiving treatment for mental illness.
The question of whether or not his identity could be reported and known by the public arose when X challenged a decision refusing to allow him out into the community without an escort – something which would have been a key step to eventually being released on parole.
X went to London's High Court earlier this year to challenge a 2013 refusal by the National Offender Management Service (Noms) to grant him unescorted community leave, and appealed against High Court judge Mr Justice Cranston's order that he could be named.
Today Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and appeal judges Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Floyd unanimously rejected his appeal.
Stephen Knafler QC had argued that X had the right to anonymity because mental patients who committed crimes were entitled to protection, including from press harassment, “no matter how horrific those crimes are” although he admitted that the killings “are high up on the scale of horrific crimes.”
Lord Justice Maurice Kay said in the lead judgment that Mr Justice Cranston “was not wrong to refuse an anonymity order.”
Dismissing the appeal, he commented: “I accept the need to protect a released criminal from media intrusion or physical attack can be a material consideration in the context of an anonymity application.”
But Lord Justice Kay added: “However, it is of limited weight in the present case. The position is not significantly different from that which arises when any notorious, violent or sexual offender leaves prison on licence or otherwise, and regardless of whether or not he has been a mental patient.”
The court heard that X was convicted 17 years ago. Both his victims received multiple stab wounds and one was sexually mutilated.
While in prison, he was diagnosed with a personality disorder and other mental health problems and transferred to Broadmoor high security hospital.
He has since been moved to a medium-secure mental hospital where he is often allowed to roam the grounds alone – and has been allowed out of the hospital grounds, with an escort, more than 300 times. Because X has served his 11 year minimum sentence the Parole Board can consider whether it is safe to release him on licence.
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