In 2021, several court cases came to public attention that were so shocking in nature, the criminals responsible have been handed whole-life sentences.
This means that they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, and will never be considered for parole.
The disappearance of marketing executive Sarah Everard in March sparked a national debate on the topic of women’s safety and the role of the police after it emerged that a serving Met police officer was behind her gruesome murder.
Wayne Couzens had tricked her into his vehicle by falsely arresting her for breaching Covid-19 lockdowns before raping and killing her in a remote area two hours out of London.
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He is the first police officer to receive a whole-life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Here are the three criminals who will serve whole life sentences for their appalling crimes:
Khairi Saadallah stabbed three friends to death in a park in Reading
In June 2020, three friends were brutally attacked and killed by 26-year-old Libyan national Khairi Saadhallah in a shocking act of terrorism.
The three men, history teacher James Furlong, 36, scientist David Wails, 49, and US citizen Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, were socialising and enjoying the sunshine in Forbury Gardens, Reading.
At around 7pm, Saadhallah attacked their group in what was described as a “completely random attack” which resulted in the three fatalities.
Motivated by religious fanaticism, he had shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack and his planning indicated that he hoped to kill as many people as possible.
Three others were injured and taken to hospital, but survived the knife attack.
During a trial at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Alison Morgan said: “The defendant was ruthlessly efficient in his actions and, the prosecution’s case is, the attack perpetrated by him was carefully planned and executed with determination and precision.
“Moreover the defendant believes in carrying out this attack he was acting in pursuit of an extremist ideology he appears to have held for some time.”
Whilst he denied being a radical extremist, Mr Justice Sweeney ruled that he was devoted to the jihadi cause and could not be considered for release from prison.
The court heard that he had used his previous combat training to target the victims on vulnerable parts of their bodies, and had then cut himself with a razor to pretend that he too was a stabbing victim.
During the Libyan Civil War, he had posed with weapons as a rebel fighter and had spent time in prison alongside Anjem Choudary, a convicted terrorist and hate preacher.
He had claimed asylum in the UK in 2012 after leaving Tripoli at the height of the political unrest and war, and later lied about his involvement in rebel militias.
Saadhallah remained in the UK for eight years, and was convicted six times for 15 crimes between 2015 and 2019,of which eight were violent crimes. He was recommended for deportation only days before the Reading attacks.
During the sentencing, the court heard from the families of the victims, who described the three as “three of the nicest men in the world”.
Mr Justice Sweeney told Saadallah: “The offence was carried out in a premeditated, planned, and carefully executed manner, and the defendant knew the nature and quality of his acts, and what he was doing was wrong.”
He continued: “For the avoidance of doubt, I conclude all six offences had a terrorist connection.
“I have no doubt this is a rare and exceptional case in which just punishment requires you must be kept in prison for the rest of your life.”
He has been given three life sentences and will never be considered for parole.
Couzens received a whole life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard
Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens received a full life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
In a murder that shocked the nation, Ms Everard was walking back from a friend’s house near Clapham Common on March 3 of this year.
Shortly after 9:30pm, she was approached by Couzens, who had completed a 12-hour shift at the American Embassy, and falsely arrested on the grounds of breaching Covid-19 guidelines.
He drove her two hours out of London to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he raped her and strangled her with his police belt.
The married father-of-two then disposed of her phone and burnt her body in a refrigerator before dumping the remains in a nearby pond.
Ms Everard was reported missing by her boyfriend the following day after she failed to meet him and was not responding to any messages.
A number of public appeals were made by the Met Police for information before Couzens was arrested on March 9. Investigating officers had connected him to a hire car which he used to abduct Ms Everard, and he was arrested at his family home in Kent.
Her remains was found by police dogs the following day, and he was charged with murder.
The news of her death sparked a nationwide debate on the issue of women’s safety, male violence and the role of the police in British society.
A vigil in Clapham Common also created controversy after the police made the decision to break up the crowds and to arrest attendees for breaching Covid-19 guidelines.
During the trial, the court heard that Couzens had used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to abduct Ms Everard.
Lord Justice Fulford said he had no doubt that Couzens had used his position as a police officer to entrap Ms Everard, and said that he had shown “no genuine contrition” for his crimes.
During the sentencing at the Old Bailey, he said the seriousness of the case was so “exceptionally high” that it warranted a whole life order.
He told Couzens: “The misuse of a police officer’s role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder for the purpose of advancng a political, religious ideological cause.”
He received a whole life sentence and will never be considered for parole.
In a statement, Ms Everard’s family said:“Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.
“Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.”
Evil killer and necrophile Fuller after his arrest by Kent police who made a DNA breakthrough in 2020
(Image: PA Media)
Former hospital worker David Fuller was given a whole-life sentence for the murder of two women and the sexual assault of over 100 bodies in a mortuary.
The 67-year-old had killed Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in two separate attacks in 1987 in Tunbridge Wells, before abusing the bodies of women in two mortuaries over a 12 year period.
He had worked as a hospital electrician between 2008 and November 2020, where he had repeatedly abused the bodies at Kent and Sussex Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
A DNA breakthrough and a police operation that cost £2.5m led to Fuller being linked to the 1987 double murders, which had been dubbed “the Bedsit Murders”.
The two women, who both lived alone in flats, had been beaten and strangled to death three weeks apart.
During a search of Fuller’s property in Heathfield, East Sussex, police officers found footage he had recorded of himself abusing corpses, including that of a nine-year-old girl, two 16-year-olds and a woman aged 100.
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Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told the court that Fuller “systematically and repeatedly sexually abused” the bodies of at least 102 dead women and girls.
It was heard that he would frequently go into the morgues after other staff had left and had been able to film himself performing the despicable acts.
In victim impact statements, families called his actions “despicable, sick and twisted”, with the mother of the nine-year-old saying: “There’s no closure. How can I make this up to her? How can I nurse that little, broken body that’s been ruined and disrespected by that vile man?
“I will never be able to get over this.”
His victims had also included LSE law graduate Azra Kemal, 24, who had died in 2020 after falling from a bridge. Her mother told Sky news that she had slept next to and cuddled her daughter to say goodbye, unaware Fuller had raped her hours earlier.
Chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust apologised to the families and promised that they would be compensated.
In her sentencing remarks, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “There is so much sorrow in this community because of what you have done. Your actions go against everything that is right and humane. They are incomprehensible.
“You had no regard for the dignity of the dead.”
He was handed two whole-life sentences for the murders with a concurrent 12-year term for his other crimes.
Murderer who avoided a whole-life order due to his age
Danyal Hussein, 19, was found guilty of the murders of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman
The 19-year-old was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years for the double murders of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, when he was jailed at the Old Bailey in October.
Judge Justice Philippa Whipple said she was unable to hand out a whole-life sentence because Hussein was under 21.
She said the usual minimum term would be 37 years for crimes of this severity, but that she had reduced it because of Hussein’s age – he had only turned 18 three weeks before committing the crime – and his autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, which she said could “make you a person who could struggle in prison more than others”.
The teenage Satanist killed the sisters in June 2020 in a supposed “sacrifice” which he believed would help him win the Mega Millions Super Jackpot lottery price of £321m.
The two sisters had been celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday in Fryent Country Park in Wembley, and had remained behind after their friends had departed.
They were brutally attacked by Hussein, who stabbed Ms Henry eight times before knifing Ms Smallman 28 times as she bravely fought back.
He then dragged their bodies into bushes, where they were later found 36 hours later by Ms Smallman’s boyfriend.
The court heard that the teenager had embarked on a “campaign of vengeance” against random women, and that he believed he should kill six women in order to obtain a lottery win.
Police were able to track him down using DNA and uncovered a handwritten pledge to a demonic entity called King Lucifuge Rofocale which was signed in blood.
Hussein was convicted of two counts of murder at the Old Bailey, and jailed for life, with a minimum term of 35 years.
Mrs Justice Whipple told him: “You had found these two women. You were a stranger to them. You surprised them, you terrified them and you killed them.
“You committed these vicious attacks. You did it to kill. You did it for money and a misguided pursuit of power.”
The judge said the lives of his victims’ loved ones had been “shattered”.
Speaking outside the court, the sisters’ mother Mina Smallman said: “He’s just an obnoxious human being. He is a broken human being who – if he had not been caught – four other families may have been suffering what we have.”
She also vowed not to allow him to be released at the end of his 35 year sentence.
In addition, two police officers have been sentenced to three years in prison after they shared pictures of the dead women on Whatsapp.