In November Thomas Mair, the murderer of MP Jo Cox, became the latest criminal to be sentenced to a whole life order. This is the only sentence given where life really does mean life - he will never be released. Whole life orders are rare, and saved for only the most evil criminals.
A conviction for murder automatically means a life sentence.
But normally, a convicted killer will receive a minimum term to serve, depending on the severity of their crime. Only in rare cases, when a crime is so horrific, will a judge order that a killer die behind bars.
In England and Wales there are currently 64 inmates who will never taste freedom again.Many are serial killers, multiple murderers and psychopaths deemed too dangerous to ever walk the streets.
You’ll have heard of most of them, their crimes so hideous they shocked the nation. They remain locked up in high security prisons, or, in some cases, high security psychiatric hospitals.
A number of them, including Jeremy Bamber who massacred five members of his own family, have challenged the use of whole-life tariffs. They claimed it broke Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, barring ‘inhuman and degrading’ treatment. But in February 2015, triple ‘Wedding Day’ killer Arthur Hutchinson lost his case.
Only three women killers have ever been sentenced to die behind bars. They are female serial killers Joanna Dennehy, Rose West, and Myra Hindley – who was still locked up when she died back in 2002.
Do you think ‘life’ should mean life for the Britain’s deadliest criminals?