Soham murderer Ian Huntley should drop his six-figure claim for compensation after he was badly injured by another inmate and be “thankful” he was not hanged, a leading victims’ campaigner has said.
The killer of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman had his throat slashed in March and now says the prison service failed in their duty of care towards him. It was reported he could recoup almost £100,000, though the Ministry of Justice said the claim would be “vigorously defended”.
Norman Brennan, the founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: “If Huntley had the slightest remorse for the terrible murder of these two girls he would drop the case immediately and get on with serving his sentence, and just be thankful it’s not pre-1967 when he may well have been sentenced to the hangman’s noose.”
Mr Brennan, 51 and a retired police officer, said inmates convicted of such heinous crimes should forfeit their right to sue. He said if Huntley won his claim, the families should sue him for every penny.
“What message is sent out when the two families in this matter received a maximum £11,000 and yet Huntley, for injuries received while serving a sentence, could get many times that. Huntley is the one responsible for being in prison. He should shut up.”
The former school caretaker, who murdered the 10-year-old friends in Cambridgeshire in 2002 and is serving a life sentence, was left scarred by the attack at Frankland Prison, County Durham.
He is alleged to have been cut with a razor blade by Damien Fowkes and needed hospital treatment. He has been attacked previously and has attempted to kill himself several times.
Colin Moses, national chairman of the Prison Officers Association (POA), said: “This fits right in with something we think is overtaking the prison service – a compensation culture from inmates. This claim has to be set against the levels of compensation for staff who are attacked.”
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “The importance of maintaining a decent, civilised prison system and the demanding duty of care on all staff to hold people in prison safely and securely, regardless of their crimes, must not be allowed to be obscured by understandable concerns about a rising ‘compensation culture’.
“When the courts sentence offenders to custody, they sentence them to loss of liberty and, hopefully, to the chance of some form of rehabilitation, not to violent attack or abuse.”