September 05, 2006

Desperate killer tries to escape

The title is perhaps misleading, but Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer, was found in his cell after an attempted suicide.

For the second time Huntley has tried to end his life through overdose, even after the first event brought to attention “serious system failures”. Perhaps the problems haven’t been addressed.

Huntley is currently at Wakefield prison, which surprised me, since originally he was based in a secure mental health institute (Broadmoor I think). So, having been declared sane (I hope), he was put into one of the most notorious prisons in the country. Indeed, Charles Bronson, apparantly Britain’s most violent prisoner, is based there.

I was compelled to write an entry on this simply because of my mother’s nonchalent reaction to the news. “Whatever, who cares, he deserves it, let him die” etc. Does he deserve it however? Is it an escape? He undoubtably experiences voilent bullying in prison, with reports of him being attacked with boiling water in an earlier incident. Even though his sentence is “at least 40 years” and not life, there will little or no chance of freedom, especially with him being a criminal of his notoriety.

The danger is thinking that death will increase suffering/punishment, when it will not. In my view, death is a lesser sentence for this man, though this does not mean I support execution, rather I’m referring to suicide. Now, the question, “Does he deserve death?” takes on a whole new meaning.

- 11 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Mathew Mannion

    I was thinking this morning about how we should deal with things like this. On BBC’s Breakfast program they had someone on who seemed to be talking about the problem that prisoners could hoard up pills and the obvious failures in not supervising these high risk prisoners. However, would a member of the public get the same treatment? It bears the question that if members of the public should be allowed to commit suicide if they really want to, shouldn’t prisoners also be afforded that right?

    05 Sep 2006, 10:53

  2. Matthew Jones

    Can open. Worms… everywhere.

    05 Sep 2006, 11:18

  3. Joe

    no matter what we do know we can’t undo what he did, all we are doing now is wasting money keeping him alive… that money would be better spent in our NHS where we could at least have a go at saving some lives with it.

    I’m still in favour of the death penalty though, and taking out all of his organs and bone marrow could save (or increase the quality of life in the case of skin) up to 60 lives. If you take someones life why shouldn’t you lose yours to save others?

    05 Sep 2006, 15:33

  4. The human psyche is complex, and situations that lead to somebody killing a fellow human being are complex, and cover a wide spectrum of both nature and nurture. Harvesting body tissue from criminals without consent, or indeed execution is simply wrong because of this, no matter what the crime.

    05 Sep 2006, 15:55

  5. ”...and cover a wide spectrum of both nature and nurture”

    if it is nature then they have to die because they could never be trusted to go back and not re-offend. If it is nurture then they would have to be re-programmed (which might be possible but would be difficult).

    I’m not saying death is right in all circumstances, but it certainly seems it in this case – and many others.

    05 Sep 2006, 17:27

  6. It’s clearly more of a punishment for him to be kept alive than to die so keep him alive. Prisoners forfeit a lot of rights in jail and the right to kill yourself should be one of them. They should serve their punishment.

    I don’t really want to have a big debate on the death penalty because the system is not perfect and who the hell are we to decide where to draw the line regarding who dies and who lives, as all murders are different? Also innocents would die and that’s not acceptable.

    05 Sep 2006, 21:18

  7. Hamid Sirhan

    Matt Mannion… All about Duty of Care mate…

    Look if you want to kill yourself, even in Prison it can’t be that hard. Why go around slashing your wrists or waiting to see if you can tie your bedsheets together? If you really feel like you need to die for what you’ve done, do us a favour and beat your head against the wall.

    06 Sep 2006, 01:16

  8. James

    A point of pedantry:

    “Even though his sentence is “at least 40 years” and not life”

    Not so. The sentence is life. The 40 years refers to the time he has to serve before becoming eligible for parole, which you have alluded to. Only if he is considered not to be a risk to the public would he then be released, and the licence conditions would apply for the rest of his life, meaning he could be recalled by the Secretary of State if his conduct warranted it (never mind if he committed any other offence).

    06 Sep 2006, 09:39

  9. Hero

    “Prison is for reform not punishment’

    06 Sep 2006, 10:31

  10. I’m pretty sure that suicide is – at least technically – illegal, so no one prisoner or not is really supoosed to commit suicide. But obviously if you do adn you die, no ones going to press charges, and if you survive no one wants to demonise you (unless you’re Ian Huntley) so likewise.

    06 Sep 2006, 14:21



    18 Nov 2007, 14:10

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