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Ian Brady And Myra Hindley

Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 24 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about the prospects of release from prison of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Prisoners serving life sentences are not eligible for parole as Such but may be released on licence when the Home Secretary considers this to be justified. I cannot, however, order the release of such a prisoner unless I am recommended to do so by the Parole Board and after consulting the Lord Chief Justice and, if he is available, the trial judge.There is no fixed time at which the case of a life sentence prisoner must be formally reviewed by the Parole Board. That is a matter for the Home Secretary. But the timing of the first formal review is fixed in consultation with the board, through a joint committee of representatives of the board and of the Home Office. This committee recently considered the cases of Brady and Hindley. The committee felt unable to recommend a date for a formal review, but recommended that it should consider the cases again in 3 years' time. I have decided to accept this recommendation.Final decisions on all matters relating to the release of life sentence prisoners rest with the Home Secretary of the day. He is not bound to accept a recommendation by the joint committee. Nor is he bound to accept a recommendation by the Parole Board that a prisoner should be released. I cannot bind my successors, but for my part I have reached no view about the time in the future when serious consideration might be given to the release of either prisoner. My present decision means that, unless there is some unforeseen development which would justify a different course, nothing will be done to initiate the formal review machinery for at least the next three years.