Attorney General backs Hemel Hempstead MP’s demand for review of Little Gaddesden murder sentence

Ian McLoughlin
Ian McLoughlin

The Attorney General has backed Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning’s demands to review the decision not to give vicious killer Ian McLoughlin a full life sentence.

McLoughlin, who had killed twice before, slit the throat of 66-year-old Little Gaddesden grandfather Graham Buck after being allowed out of jail for the first time in 21 years.

He travelled on day release from HMP Spring Hill near Aylesbury to the Nettleden Road home of elderly paedophile Francis Cory-Wright, who he had met in prison, in July.

Mr Buck interrupted the 55-year-old’s robbery of Cory-Wright by coming to the aid of his neighbour after hearing him crying out for help. Mr Buck paid for his neighbourliness with his life.

But the judge behind McLoughlin’s sentencing said he could not pass a whole-life term due to a European judgement that said such sentences are a breach of human rights.

Mr Penning, whose constituency covers Little Gaddesden, wrote to Attorney General Dominic Grieve straight after the 40-year minimum-term sentence was handed down last month.

Mr Grieve met Mr Penning yesterday to confirm that he will refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Penning said: “Whilst it is true that Ian McLoughlin will be a very old man in 40 years’ time, that is not the point.

“It is essential that we have the ability to pass a whole-life sentence if it is justified.

“I certainly believe it is justified in this case. McLoughlin has killed three times; on separate occasions. It beggars belief that we are unable to pass a whole-life sentence because of his human rights.”

He said Mr Grieve agrees that the sentence was ‘unduly lenient’ and that the judge was wrong to say he could not give McLoughlin a whole-life sentence.

Mr Penning said: “The whole local community deserve justice and I am pleased that the Attorney General agrees that the sentence is unduly lenient and is going to refer this case to the Court of Appeal.”