Child killer Timothy Morss fails to get sentence cut
SADISTIC child killer Timothy Morss has lost his bid to have his sentence cut – but there is still a chance he could one day be released from prison.
Morss, from Bristol, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in 1996 after admitting the murder of nine-year-old Daniel Handley.
He and fellow paedophile Brett Tyler had subjected Daniel to a horrifying sexual ordeal before strangling him then burying the body on wasteland in Bradley Stoke. Both the judge who sentenced him and the Lord Chief Justice recommended that Morss, now 49, should never be freed, but the final decision lay with the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who set his minimum term at an unprecedented 50 years.
Reviewing the case at the High Court, Mr Justice Blair spoke of the "terrible continuing ordeal" endured by Daniel's family and said that, in his view, Morss' crime was so heinous that he should serve the whole of his natural life in jail.
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However, the judge said he was bound by the former Home Secretary's ruling and could not increase Morss' 50-year tariff.
The ruling means that, although Morss will be in his 80s by the time his minimum sentence expires, he will be able to ask the Parole Board to free him.
Daniel was fixing a chain on his bicycle in Beckton, London, in October 1994 when Morss and Tyler, who frequently cruised the streets looking for young boys, kidnapped him.
They subjected him to appalling sexual abuse before strangling him in a lay-by on the M4 near Hungerford and burying his body on waste ground in Bradley Stoke, near Morss' home.
Daniel's skull was uncovered by a scavenging fox six months later and his remains had to be identified from dental records.
His killers, who filmed each other attacking Daniel and other boys, both fled to the Philippines where they continued regularly preying on youngsters. Morss returned to the UK and pleaded guilty to Daniel's murder but Tyler had to be extradited to stand trial. In recommending a "whole life" tariff to the Home Secretary, the trial judge described the killers as "totally depraved".
Describing both men as posing "the maximum danger to young boys", he said that, given any chance, they would do the same again.
He added: "It is difficult to convey on paper how depraved these men and these crimes were.
"It is the worst case of this kind I have come across in my 38 years."
At the High Court, Morss claimed that his 50-year tariff was "grossly excessive" and described it as an "arbitrary sentence imposed under a secret policy".
He should have been given more credit for his guilty plea and a term of 25 to 30 years would be enough to pay his debt to society, it was argued.
However, after reading heart-rending statements from Daniel's family describing their terrible continuing ordeal, Mr Justice Blair said he was convinced that this was one of those rare cases where a whole life sentence should have been imposed.
The judge's decision means that Morss can apply for parole in 2045. If he lives that long, he will then be released if the parole board is convinced the danger he poses has passed.