Does a convicted murderer sentenced to life imprisonment deserve a second chance? Many get one, but should Kiaran Stapleton and his fellow psychopaths?
Boxing Day last year saw three shocking murders in England including of student Anuj Bidve. Anuj was with a group of friends when a stranger walked up to him in a Salford street and shot him in the head. Because the victim was Indian, the usual suspects tried to make capital out of his death by crying racism, but when the perpetrator was brought to book, the only reason he was able to give for ending a man's life was that he had "the biggest head".
At his trial, the man who called himself Psycho Stapleton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility - a legal fiction. Although his trial dragged on and on with hours of flowery testimony from a quack psychologist, Kiaran Stapleton was rightly convicted of murder. Now he is appealing not his conviction, not his sentence, but his tariff. He thinks a minimum of 30 years is too long. The Court of Appeal is hearing his appeal along with four similar ones. The other appellants include a serial rapist who preyed on elderly women, and most interestingly, Danilo Restivo, a man convicted of murder in both England and Italy. Restivo's victims were both women, both killed either for kicks or for motives only a diseased mind could understand. Both these extremely dangerous individuals have been given whole life tariffs, meaning their trial judges thought they should die in prison.
Anyone au fait with the facts of their cases would consider this perfectly reasonable, but there is yet another reason for Restivo to be kept behind bars. There is compelling evidence that he committed another murder, one for which another man is currently serving a life sentence.
We reported on the case of Omar Benguit in September of last year.
Miscarriage of justice prisoner Omar Benguit.
In murder cases, the appeals process proceeds at a snail's pace more often than not, and Benguit's case is no exception, but four months ago John Aidiniantz - who set up the Omar Benguit website - issued a press release concerning Benguit's application to the CCRC.
The Court of Appeal is not hurrying its decision here either, which hopefully will be academic when it is delivered, probably some time next week. Stapleton's 30 year tariff is clearly warranted, and Restivo deserves to die behind bars. On the other hand, Omar Benguit clearly does not, but it remains to be seen if the myopia of the police and CPS can be cured anymore than Restivo or Stapleton's supposed personality disorders.
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