THE story of one of Yorkshire’s most notorious killers and his capture by the police will be re-told in a new documentary to be screened tonight.
Arthur Hutchinson stabbed to death a wealthy Sheffield couple, Basil and Avril Laitner, after breaking into their home on the night of their daughter’s wedding in 1983, killed one of their sons and raped a teenage guest.
This summer Hutchinson became the first British convict to challenge his “life means life” tariff following a controversial ruling by European judges that it breached human rights.
The makers of When Life Means Life say the documentary, the first of a series of six, would “pose serious questions about the nature of punishment and force viewers to confront the question – should life mean life?”
Hutchinson was on the run from police in Selby for rape when he knifed solicitor Basil Laitner, his wife Avril, a doctor, and son Richard at their home in Dore.
Calling himself The Fox, Hutchinson boasted the authorities would never catch him. While a fugitive he wrote to and telephoned the Yorkshire Post.
Among those interviewed by the documentary-makers include Mick Burdis, Detective Chief Inspector at South Yorkshire Police, who led the investigation, and Vic Brough, an artist brought in to get a likeness of the killer.
Former Yorkshire Post journalist Alan Whitehouse, who reported on the investigation, said the decision to release a photo of Hutchinson turned him from being “a small-time petty crook to the most wanted man in England”.
The judge at Hutchinson’s original 1984 trial in Sheffield ruled that he should serve 18 years but then Home Secretary Leon Brittan later ruled he should face the whole life tariff.
The programme airs at 9pm on Crime & Investigation Network, Sky channel 553.