Whole life orders: Wayne Couzens joins 60 of Britain's worst criminals

Whole life orders: Wayne Couzens joins 60 of Britain’s most dangerous criminals including Rose West, Levi Bellfield and Jo Cox’s killer Thomas Mair spending their ENTIRE lives behind bars

  • Ex-Met officer Wayne Couzens, 48, jailed for life over Sarah Everard’s murder with no chance of parole
  • He joins 60 of the country’s most dangerous offenders who are expected to die behind bars
  • They include Milly Dowler killer Levi Bellfield, neo-Nazi Thomas Mair who killed Labour MP Jo Cox and Gloucester serial killer Rose West
  • A total of 73 criminals have been sentenced to whole life terms in prison

Whole life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes.

Today, Wayne Couzens, 48, was jailed for the rest of his life with no chance of parole after he ‘misused’ his ‘office and authority’ as a Met officer to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

He joins a string of some of the country’s most dangerous offenders who are expected to die behind bars.

There are 60 criminals still alive who are serving whole life orders, according to government figures to the end of June. In total, 73 criminals have been sentenced to whole life terms.

Today, Wayne Couzens was jailed for the rest of his life with no chance of parole

They will never be considered for release, unless there are exceptional compassionate grounds to warrant it.

Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield is thought to be the only criminal in UK legal history to be serving two whole life orders – for her murder, the killings of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Other notorious criminals serving whole life orders include Gloucester serial killer Rose West, who is responsible for the deaths of ten women – many of them tortured and murdered with her husband Fred West, now dead, as an accomplice. 

Michael Adebolajo, one of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers, is also serving a life term without parole.

Other notorious lifers are Mark Bridger, 55, who abducted and murdered five-year-old April Jones in Powys, Wales, in 2012; neo-Nazi Thomas Mair who killed MP Jo Cox; Grindr serial killer Stephen Port; and most recently terror attacker Khairi Saadallah – who murdered three men in a park in Reading. 

Levi Bellfield who was found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2003

Gloucester serial killer Rose West, who was jailed for life over the murders ten victims between 1973 and 1987

Rose and her late husband Fred West are believed to have tortured and murdered at least a dozen women in their home in Gloucester, including their daughter Heather

Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and doctor Harold Shipman – thought to be one of Britain’s most prolific serial killers – were also among those serving whole life orders.

In the past, home secretaries could issue whole life tariffs and these are now determined by judges.

Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the Government is trying to expand the use of whole life orders for premeditated murder of a child. 

Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebelajo later lost two teeth while being restrained by five officers at Belmarsh Prison

Mark Bridger, 55, who abducted and murdered five-year-old April Jones in Powys, Wales, in 2012


Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley were among the criminals serving life behind bars

Thomas Mair, 58, who shot and stabbed Labour MP Jo Cox outside of her constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in 2016

The reforms would also allow judges to hand out the maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, such as for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life. 

It will also give judges the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a whole life order on offenders aged 18 or over but under 21.

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