Review of 2013

Below is a list of ten of the bigger stories of the year, covered on UK Criminal Law Blog, predictably involving sex and death.

Ashley Charles

ashley chareles

The murder conviction of Ashley Charles was a popular post this year. Mr Charles plunged a broken bottle into Phillip Sherriff’s neck after an innocuous argument in a bar. He received a life sentence with a 14-year tariff. He appealed against conviction and sentence and both were dismissed.


Appeals against conviction and sentence dismissed

Chris Huhne


This case attracted obvious interest; after getting himself flashed by a speed camera, then lying about it, then getting his then wife to lie about it, then cheating on his then wife…it all came tumbling down around Chris Huhne, the ‘disgraced’ former MP.

Huhne and Pryce – the key information

What’s Huhne’s future in politics?

Ian Watkins

Watkins date set

This was a very popular story on the blog. Ian Watkins, former Lost Prophets singer, pleaded to a series of child sexual offences including conspiracy to rape a baby and attempted rape of a baby. He received a 35-year extended sentence.

Ian Watkins case – breach of the anonymity afforded to victims?

What happens to Ian Watkins royalties now?

Ian Watkins sentenced – 35 year extended sentence (29 yrs + 6 yr licence)

Jeremey Forrest


“No sex with students. It is sort of a rule”

Jeremy Forrest, a former school teacher, ran away with a 15 year old student with whom he had had a sexual relationship. After an adventure in France, Forrest was arrested and brought back to the UK.

Jeremy Forrest Sentenced – 5½ years (updated)

How long will Jeremy Forrest serve?

Marine A

Court martial

The Marine A case came to a head in late 2013 with the conviction for murder of one of the five who originally were charged. Marine A, who later had his anonymity lifted, executed an injured insurgent who had been firing at him and his men.

Marine A – Sergeant Blackman – sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Naked Rambler


Stephen Gough, aka the Naked Rambler, likes walking around wearing nothing but a backpack, a hat and compass attached to lanyard. So what? Well the authorities don’t take kindly to it and the saga between Gough and the CPS (which has rumbled on for years) continued in 2013.

CPS Issue policy on prosecuting naturism

Naked Rambler, Stephen Gough, back in jail

Naked Rambler – Halifax Conviction upheld


Neil Wilson


The Neil Wilson case was famous, not because of what the defendant did (although that was obviously a part) but because of the barrister and judge said (or didn’t say, in the event).

Neil Wilson’s sentence referred to Court of Appeal by Attorney-General

Neil Wilson (‘predatory’ case) has sentenced increased

Sgt Nightingale


Sgt Nightingale made the headlines in 2013 for possession of a firearm and ammunition. The sequence of events went something like: plea of guilty, sentence appeal, application to vacate the plea, plea of not guilty, trial, conviction. Phew! After a lengthy and expensive legal battle, he was really no better off.


Convicted after a retrial. Sentence deferred.

Abuse of process application

Conviction appeal

Conviction quashed  – retrial ordered

Sentence appeal

CMAC says it’s just and fair to reduce his sentence

Successful appeal against sentence – immediate release

Original conviction

Background information

Stuart Hall

stuart hall

One of the bigger stories of the year was the conviction and sentence (and subsequent Attorney-General’s Reference) of the former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall for child sex offences.

Stuart Hall sentenced to 15 months

Stuart Hall – Attorney General’s Reference against ‘lenient’ 15 month sentence

Stuart Hall – Att-Gen’s Ref judgment released

Whole life tariffs 


This is an issue which seemed to come to the fore in 2013 – though whole life tariffs have been around for ages, in 2013, we saw more defendants receiving them. There is a dispute between Europe and the UK Parliament as to their lawfulness, and even the Judges can’t decide whether at the moment (before the Europe issue is decided) it is okay to impose a whole life sentence!

Whole Life Tariffs

Whole Life tariffs unlawful – Vinter v UK in the ECHR

Whole Life Tariffs for Police Killers?

Ian McLoughlin – no whole life tariff?

Mark Bridger to appeal against sentence

We think it has been an interesting year in terms of the criminal law. Let us know some of your favourite posts/stories if they don’t feature on the list above.

Oh, and don’t forget about the podcast – a 40 ish minute chat each week between Lyndon, Dan and Kim (with some occasional guests) about the topical criminal law stories. Thanks for reading. See you in 2014.

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