Dominic Raab has vowed to “move quickly” to prevent convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield from challenging a decision to prevent him getting married in prison.
The justice secretary has said he plans to change the law because of a legal challenge from Bellfieldwho is currently serving two whole life sentences for the murder of two women and a 13-year-old girl, is not “appropriate”.
The 54-year-old applied to marry his girlfriend last year, and has made a bid for legal aid to challenge the decision to block the marriage.
mr Raab said that it would be “wrong” for taxpayers to have to fund Bellfield’s bid to get married, but added there was “no question” this would be the outcome if the challenge went ahead.
“I don’t think it is appropriate and, both within the realm of the existing powers that I have but also the legislative agenda, on which I will be saying more shortly, I think it is wrong,” he told radio station LBC.
“I don’t think it is appropriate and I’m going to change the law. We are committed to that.”
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Mr Raab, who is also deputy prime minister, intends to unveil a new Victims Bill that would ban those on whole life sentences from getting married, added: “I also think there’s a question around the risk to anyone that would marry an offender as egregious as in this case Levi Bellfield.”
Last year he criticized the Human Rights Act for putting “all sorts of obstacles” in the way of being able to block Bellfield’s marriage to his fiancee, who is in her 40s.
He said: “It is inconceivable that the prison or the Ministry of Justice would authorize that marriage unless the very significant concerns about the safeguarding were addressed.”
In May 2022, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “sickened and appalled” by Bellfield’s request for a prison wedding.
At the time, former justice minister Victoria Atkins said she had ordered an immediate review into Bellfield’s marriage request.
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Bellfield, who has been in prison for 17 years, received a whole life sentence for the murder of Marsha McDonnell, 19, in 2003, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18, in 2004.
He was already serving his sentence when he was found guilty of abducting and killing 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.