A killer has used European human rights laws to block a key element of UK parole reforms – just weeks after they were introduced.
Lawyers for Adrian Bailey, who was jailed for life, after inflicting fatal brain injuries on a man, brought a High Court challenge in a bid to get out of prison early.
A judge granted an interim ruling in his favour, throwing Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s reforms into confusion.
Bailey’s legal victory hinged partly on his "right to liberty" under the European Convention on Human Rights.
It comes almost 25 years ago that dad-of-three David Beech was found lying in a pool of his own blood in Goldenhill.
What happened to David Beech?
Mr Beech was left in a vegetative state after suffering a brutal attack outside a pub in June 1997.
He had been assaulted by Adrian Bailey and Michael Golden who had savagely punched, kicked and stamped on him despite his desperate pleas for them to stop.
Bailey, of Rectory Road, Shelton in Stoke-on-Trent was initially jailed for five years after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Golden, of Rossett Grove, Packmoor, who was convicted by a jury of the same charge, was jailed for six years.
But to his family's anguish, Mr Beech never recovered and required round-the-clock care until his death, at the age of 42, in 2004 – seven-and-a-half years after the incident.
What was different about this murder trial?
The case became the first in Staffordshire where the defendants were accused of murder after already serving custodial sentences in relation to the incident.
Following a trial, Bailey was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life, with a minimum term of eight years.
Golden, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter, and was jailed for 18 months.
During the murder trial, the court heard Mr Beech told Bailey to stay away from his friend’s daughter.
A fight broke out, and as Mr Beech was getting the better of Bailey, Golden joined in and punched Mr Beech.
What was said during the 1997 trial of David Beech?
Diane Lee - the only witness - heard Mr Beech say ‘No more, I’ve had enough’, but they did not stop.
Bailey told his probation officer that he had lost his temper and had “punched, kicked and stamped' on Mr Beech.
During the trial, he argued he had only acted unlawfully after Golden punched Mr Beech to the ground.
He said Golden caused the injury to the brain which proved fatal.
Golden said all he did was pull Mr Beech to the ground, and said it was a kick by Bailey which caused the victim to bang his head.
Following the incident, Mr Beech was in intensive care for weeks, and needed constant care. He died from septicaemia, which resulted from kidney problems caused by infections he got from the loss of his bodily functions.
In his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Mackay said the attack was vicious and the fact that the pair did not call an ambulance was an aggravating feature.
He took into account the time both defendants have served in relation to the incident.
But Mr Beech’s family branded the sentences as "disgusting".
'This is not justice', Mr Beech's family says
Speaking at the time, his father Derek, of Sandyford, said: "We do not accept this.
"This is not justice.
"There were four post mortem examinations and we could not bury David for six months.
"Eight years for taking a life? It’s so unfair on my family."
A quarter of a century after that fateful night, Bailey is making a bid for freedom as he uses European human rights laws to block a key element of UK parole reforms – just weeks after they were introduced.
Lawyers for Bailey brought a High Court challenge in a bid to get out of prison early.
A judge granted an interim ruling in his favour, throwing Justice Secretary Dominic Raab's reforms into confusion.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the package of reforms were aimed at "keeping our streets safe".