Friday's Letters: Just wait until the appeals start over serial killer's sentence

SERIAL killer, Stephen Griffiths, the self-proclaimed Crossbow Cannibal, has been found guilty of the murders of three women.

He dismembered his victims, ate parts of their bodies and the murders were so savage and unbelievably evil that the trial judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, ruled that a whole-life prison sentence was the only appropriate sentence, which means Griffiths will die in prison (Yorkshire Post, December 22).

The conditions Griffiths faces in prison will be at odds with the depravity of his crimes. He will be able to decorate his single cell to his own taste; he will enjoy his own personal TV set with a full choice of all satellite channels; he will have to be addressed by the prison officers as "mister", and all medical and dental treatment will be viewed as a priority.

There will be no hard labour or probably no labour at all.

Even if such conditions have to be accepted, the case has been so horrific there can be no question of any possible future appeal against such a sentence – can there?

Fast-forward 10 years, or so. The liberal-elite of Britain's justice system will be preparing to launch the first of many appeals against Griffiths's whole-life prison sentence.

They will be aware that memories of the sheer horror of his murders and of the murder trial will have faded from our minds and it will be time to accuse us of being uncivilised, barbaric and simply seeking revenge for his crimes.

We will, of course, have to listen to claims that his human rights have been infringed as the whole-life sentence imposed does not allow him the possibility of applying for parole which, will surely, mean an appeal to Europe.

This cannot happen?

People said the same following the trial of the Yorkshire Ripper and look what's happened there.

It will be claimed that Griffiths is a changed man; that he no longer presents a danger to the public; that his behaviour in prison has been exemplary and he is a model prisoner and, of course, that he has "found" God.

The appeal will fail but it prepares the ground for all forthcoming appeals for whatever the state of Britain's future economic position, taxpayers' cash will always be made available for such decadence.

All the costs of these appeals have to be met by the taxpayers so it is imperative that they begin to prepare.

But, they will not be required to do anything now, no need to worry themselves about bank transfers, opening special savings accounts.

Oh no, the legal profession will look after all these details for you as when the time comes they will simply help themselves to your cash – it's like Robin Hood in reverse but perfectly legal and, more importantly, it is deemed civilised.

There is, at least, one advantage in being in the evening of life for by the time all these appeals occur I will have gone and will not be required to help fund this obscene farce.

For others, particularly those under 50-years-old, they had better start saving now.

From: Barrie Frost, Watson's Lane, Reighton, Filey.

A decline in moral standards

From: Frank McManus, Longfield Road, Todmorden.

AS 83 is a prime number, and also my age, I, a lifelong Socialist, should be in the prime of life, alongside my contemporary Gerald White (Yorkshire Post, December 13) who writes as a lifelong Liberal to raise some important points on education.

I, too, went to university on awards and with parent help that kept me alive during vacations, foregoing contributions from possible teenage wages to a tight household budget.

I have always seen it as a responsibility of the mature to bring the following generation to fully-trained skills for community life, without having the nerve to label them as debtors.

Thomas Hardy, in his novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles, makes her suitor's father, the Reverend James Clare, ask his rebellious son, Angel: "What is the good of your mother and me stinting ourselves to give you a university education, if it is not to be used for the honour and glory of God?"

The youth, declining to seek "holy orders", replied: "Why, that it may be used for the honour and glory of man, father."

I have now lived through decades of national moral decline which has brought us to the point of scorning such British culture and traditions and of viewing education as largely training for a money-dominated rat race!

Governmental integrity has plummeted since Attlee's Government meticulously kept all its 1945 election promises, bar steel nationalisation.

Now we have the outrageous scandal of Mr Clegg's betrayal of the Lib Dems' pledge on student fees.

It is not enough to say (rightly in Gerald White's opinion) that it ought not to have been made. It was made and should be kept, for democracy entails mandates.

Crushing the quangos

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

I WAS unimpressed with Professor Flinders' defence of quangos (Yorkshire Post, December 17). He did concede that 'some' quangos should be abolished; for 'some', read 'most'.

The onus should be on the Professor to justify the existence of these free-floating, unelected, groups which are surplus to requirements.

What the professor omitted to mention is that we are probably the most 'governed' nation in the western world. Leaving aside Europe, we have at the apex of the pyramid a wholly excessive number of MPs while doing their bidding, there are hundreds of thousands of civil servants.

Locally, we have metropolitan councils, borough councils, district councils, and parish councils. On top of that we have 'respectable' bodies like police authorities.

According to the professor, we need most of the existing quangos on top of this crushing weight of bureaucracy. Good grief, does it never occur to him that we are over-supplied already with people bursting to tell others how to run their lives and give the benefit of their advice.

The professor tries unconvincingly to make out that most of the salaries are quite modest. I have plenty of experience of the civil service from the inside and it is well-known unaccountable bodies tend to expand and mushroom.

I think the Government is leading a long overdue assault on these bastions of bureaucracy.

Funding issue over housing

From: GR Thorpe, Lister Avenue, East Bowling, Bradford.

I SEE that Austin Mitchell was holding a protest about the shortage of council houses (Yorkshire Post, December 16).

For a start, he fails to say where the finances will be acquired. It seems to me that these Labour MPs have no idea that the last Government left this country nearly bankrupt and that the PFI is far too costly, If it were possible to fund social housing who would live in these houses?

You can almost see the thousands of immigrants arriving and getting put to the top of housing lists. They arrive here with families and as they are homeless they get priority as it would be wrong for children to sleep on the streets.

The indigenous people of the towns that would be lucky enough to build social houses would still have to wait for years in some cases before they are lucky enough to rent a council house.

We then come to the fact that a large portion of these tenants will have council tax, gas and electric paid for, so there will be a shortage of finances available to build more houses and, therefore, council tax will have to rise on other properties to cover the cost.

We read articles in the media on regular occasions about all of the above, so let's hear from these MPs and let them say how these things can be achieved instead of just making noises.

Responsibility for this crisis

From: Tom Howley, Marston Way, Wetherby.

Was Sir Bernard Ingham a member of a trade union in his formative years? As a young journalist and Labour Party member, he will have joined the National Union of Journalists and, I imagine, would have been active in his local branch, so he will know all about 'union barons' (Yorkshire Post, December 8).

If the unions were as powerful as Sir Bernard claims, then why are workers' skills not valued as highly as the cunning of the greedy bankers and hedge fund managers who have brought the country to the crisis we are experiencing?

While his hero Margaret Thatcher was smashing the unions, Fred Goodwin and his merry men were digging into the foundations of the banking system encouraged by Mrs Thatcher's deregulation of the financial world.

Council's winter resilience plan needs overhaul

From: Peter Hemmerman, Langdale Road, Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

THE recent spate of cold weather, snow and ice has gone a long way towards proving what several of us have known for many years; that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is not fit for purpose.

They complain that the weather is unprecedented. Yet the purpose of an emergency plan is surely to cope with unprecedented events which it has clearly failed to do. The winter resilience plan needs a serious overhaul and suitable snow and ice clearing equipment obtained. The ERYC needs to work more closely with town and parish councils to prepare for serious weather conditions.

If the council is to act correctly to fulfil the needs of the residents, it clearly needs to change its functions and priorities.

While using the current spending cuts as a convenient reason for various failures, they will continue to waste money on projects which benefit very few whilst the majority suffer.

It's no good spending millions on Bridlington Spa, the Treasure House and other flag-waving projects when everyday necessary work and vital maintenance is being ignored. I, and my colleagues, are all hard working town councillors who have come together to offer the people of East Yorkshire a real alternative.

We are not controlled by the Westminster establishment and firmly believe you cannot conduct municipal affairs justly when you have party prejudice.

You do not have to be a Conservative Party member to follow conservative principles nor a Socialist/Liberal Democrat to attend to the needs of the underprivileged.

Independent unbiased local government is what this county needs and what we, in the East Yorkshire Independents, will offer to the electorate in May 2011.

Church should look at leaders

From: Philip Smith, New Walk, Beverley, East Yorkshire.

THE Pope asks 'What's wrong with Christians?' (Yorkshire Post, December 21). The fact is that there is nothing wrong with Christians – only their leaders.

I cannot understand why the Pope is surprised that the totally unnatural and unbiblical practice of insisting on an unmarried clergy results in a concentration of paedophile and homosexual activity in the Catholic Church's ranks.

It's a simple case of cause and effect.

I also cannot understand why priests' paedophile activity has been covered up by the Catholic Church for centuries and the perpetrators have largely gone unpunished and retain their church membership.

This is not Christian behaviour as understood by most people.

When a cheque is not a cheque

From: Joyce Blakeston, Church View, Kirby Wiske, Thirsk.

REFERRING to your article on phasing out of cheques (Yorkshire Post, December 22), I am reminded of when as a child – I am now 84 – that we used to amuse ourselves by asking: "When is a door not a door?" Answer: "When it's a jar."

I now ask myself: "When is a cheque not a cheque?"

Answer: "When it's a paper-based payment system." I am obviously just a confused old lady.

Stamp of approval

From: C Humphreys, Salisbury Street, Rawdon, Leeds.

I WOULD like to make the suggestion that there can be a poppy on the corner of a stamp when the future of the Royal Mail is considered (Yorkshire Post, December 20).