Two paedophiles convicted of murdering a woman who threatened to report them have lost a legal bid claiming compensation over not seeing each other in prison.
Charles O’Neill and William Lauchlan are serving life sentences for killing the woman in Largs, North Ayrshire, and dumping her body at sea in 1997. Her body was not found.
They were locked up in different prisons after they were convicted in 2010.
O’Neill, 52, was jailed for at least 30 years while Lauchlan, 39, was ordered to serve a minimum of 26 years. They are also serving concurrent sentences for a number of sex offences.
After the pair were convicted, the sentencing judge Lord Pentland described them as “relentless and murderous” paedophiles, and said they were “highly ruthless and unrepentant individuals”.
Last year, the pair had claimed their “right to respect for family life” under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) had been violated because inter-prison visits for them were refused, and they sought a judicial review.
They said they were in a “long-standing relationship” before they were convicted.
O’Neill and Lauchlan also complained they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and were seeking damages reportedly of £35,000 each.
But the complaints were rejected by judge Lord Stewart today, who decided the Scottish Prison Service had not acted unlawfully towards them and had not discriminated against the pair.
He said they were not entitled to damages as he refused the joint petition.
In his judgment, Lord Stewart said: “If I may at this point repeat what Lord Pentland said about the petitioners when he sentenced them in 2010: ‘Their whole lives have, for many years, been focused on finding victims they can groom and then sexually abuse’.
“The quality of the petitioners’ life together as described by Lord Pentland is, if I may respectfully say so, sufficiently evidenced by the offences of which they were convicted.”
He added: “It is a dangerous thing, I accept, to pass judgement on the value of someone else’s family life.
“Sometimes it has to be done … In this case I feel justified in saying that the life Charles O’Neill and William Lauchlan have had together when at liberty since 1993, to the extent evidenced to me, is so negative that it cannot be ‘family life’ as that concept should be understood.
“Their relationship and relations between each other do not engage, do not attract the support of, do not merit the protection of, the ‘family life’ provisions of article 8 ECHR.”