Cannibal overturns jail tariff

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

A cannibal who ate the brains of his friend has won an appeal against an order that he must remain locked up for the rest of his life.

Peter Bryan, 35, was told by London's Court of Appeal that he must instead serve a minimum of 15 years.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips overturned the "whole life" tariff but said it was unlikely that Bryan, who is mentally ill, would ever be released.

Last March Bryan was sentenced to life after admitting two manslaughters.

Bryan, a schizophrenic, killed his friend Brian Cherry, 43 , before frying his brains in butter and eating them, the Old Bailey heard at the time of the original court case.

'Too dangerous'

He told the court he wanted to continue killing and eating people because it gave him a thrill.

He was then sent to Broadmoor special hospital but within two months attacked and killed fellow patient, Richard Loudwell, 59.

In court he pleaded guilty to killing both men on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Judge Giles Forrester told him he would never be released because he was too dangerous.

Hammer attack

But at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Lord Philips said the judge had failed to "adequately reflect" on Bryan's mental illness.

If he was cured of his mental illness and looked back in horror at his crimes, "how long does justice demand that he be held in custody for crimes committed when ill?" he asked.

He said Bryan's mental health would be kept under review.

The Old Bailey was earlier told the mental health system had let the public down after Bryan was released from Rampton special hospital where he was sent after beating a 20-year-old shop assistant to death with a hammer in 1993.