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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: 1986 / 1987
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Thomas Walker, 60 / Michael Tierney, 35
Method of murder: Beating
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988

Anthony Anderson is a convicted British murderer.

He is most notable for successfully challenging the Home Secretary's powers to set minimum terms for life sentence prisoners. On 25 November 2002, the Law Lords ruled in favour of Anderson's claim that it was incompatible with human rights for politicians to set minimum terms for life sentence prisoners, and the next day the European Court of Human Rights agreed with this decision, meaning that politicians in European countries can no longer decide the minimum length of imprisonment for anyone serving a life sentence.

British politicians had been stripped of their powers to set minimum terms for prisoners aged under 18 after the High Court ruled that Michael Howard had acted unlawfully by deciding that the juvenile killers of toddler James Bulger should spend at least 15 years in custody.

Anderson's successful challenge was a test case which affected approximately 225 convicted British murderers who had been given recommended minimum terms at their trial, only for the term to be increased by the Home Secretary at a later date.

He had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988 on a double charge of murder. His first victim was Thomas Walker, aged 60, who died in September 1986 after being punched and kicked by Anderson in a burglary. Anderson's next victim was 35-year-old Michael Tierney, who died in May 1987, having also being killed by Anderson in a burglary.

The trial judge sentence Anderson to life imprisonment and recommended that he should serve a minimum of 15 years before being considered for parole, which would keep him in prison until at least 2003.

Six years after Anderson's trial, Home Secretary Michael Howard increased Anderson's minimum term to 20 years, meaning that he would now have to wait until at least 2008 before release could be even considered.

Anderson had tried to challenge the Home Secretary's tariff-setting powers earlier, but his first case in February 2001 failed.


Name: Anthony Anderson

Crime: Killed two men - Thomas Walker, 60, and Michael Tierney, 35 - in separate attacks after being let into their homes. Mr Walker, 60, was in "obvious" poor health and after being punched and kicked by Anderson in September 1986, suffered a heart attack and died. Mr Tierney, 35, similarly died from injuries in May 1987 after being kicked by Anderson. In both cases he also stole property from his victims.

Anderson was convicted in 1988 of two murders and given two life sentences. The judge, with the agreement of the lord chief justice, set a tariff of 15 years. In July 1994, then home secretary Michael Howard increased Anderson's minimum term to 20 years, and that was confirmed by Mr Howard's successor Jack Straw. He said the tariff was justified because Anderson - now aged 40 - had killed on two separate occasions.

A legal challenge to the home secretary's decision (launched jointly with John Taylor - see below) was rejected in 2001 by the court of appeal, which confirmed the home secretary's power to fix the mandatory life sentence tariffs. But Anderson's case triggered a Law Lords ruling last November that criticised the home secretary's role in setting tariffs and led to the new sentencing rules.

BBC News



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