Cameron: 'Life should mean life' for serious offenders

David Cameron has vowed to ensure "life should mean life" for murderers and other serious offenders, amid reports the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences as a way round an ongoing human rights row over whole-life terms.

Government happy to pick a fight with the ECHR

by - Deputy Political Editor

Since the European Court of Human Rights ruled that whole life terms were a breach of human rights, the Government has been looking at a range of options to deal with the issue.

They now think they may have come up with a way around the ruling, by allowing judges to hand out US-style long sentences, perhaps up to 100 years. They are due to present their proposals to the Court in Strasbourg later this month.

The European Court of Human Rights says that whole life terms are illegal. Credit: Rainer Jensen/DPA

The ECHR is an institution with which the Government is quite happy to pick a fight, and this would give Tory backbenchers another reason to ask David Cameron to take a stronger line against the court and perhaps even threaten to pull out of the European Convention.

Criminals serving whole life sentences

There are currently 49 criminals serving whole life terms in English prisons, and David Cameron has vowed to ensure that "life means life" for the worst offences.

Those serving full life terms include Jamie Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to the murder of Shropshire teenager Georgia Williams last year.

Jamie Reynolds pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgia Williams. Credit: West Mercia Police

Mark Bridger, who was jailed for killing five-year-old April Jones, is also serving a whole life sentence.

Mark Bridger has launched an appeal bid against his life sentence. Credit: PA Wire

Read: Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

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Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers can be kept in jail for life amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences.

The Prime Minister's comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared life sentences in England illegal because they offer no "right to review".

Ministers believe they can sidestep the ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years, the Telegraph has reported.