Essex: Killer's Human Rights Action Fails

A 24-year-old man, who's serving three life sentences for killing three deal dealers from Essex, has failed in his initial bid to sue the prison service.

Kevan Thakrar is taking legal action over alleged infringements under the European Convention on Human Rights.

He's unhappy over what are claimed to be illegal policies or practices in prisons involving his privileged correspondence with lawyers, his private use of telephones and prison visits with his legal team.

Flo Krause, who represents Thakrar, told the Civil Courts of Justice in Manchester today (Friday November 16th) that her client has also complained about "excessive searches'' while in jail.

But after examining the 14 different grounds on which Thakrar was complaining, Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled that the policies were "lawful''.

He said:  "The policy that we have all got is lawful. That's the soul of my judgment.''

The case will now continue on the basis that Thrakrar will allege that the Prison Service was in breach of these established polices when the incidents he is complaining of happened.

The court was told that Thrakrar has complained of 153 allegations of such breaches between March 2010 and March 2011.

Thakrar claims that, under the European Convention on Human Rights, while in prison his rights under Article 6 (to a fair trial) and Article 8 (to respect for one's private and family life), are being breached.

A further hearing will be listed in the new year.

Thakrar, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, must serve a minimum of 35 years before he can be considered for parole and is currently being held at HMP Woodhill, a Category A jail, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

He was jailed along with his brother Miran in 2007 for the gangland-style execution of three drug dealers.

Keith Cowell, 52, his son Matthew, 17, and Tony Dulieu, 33, from Essex, were killed at the Cowells' house in Bishop's Stortford, Herts.

The Thakrars were also found guilty of the attempted murders of Christine Jennings, 54, and Matthew Cowell's girlfriend, Clare Evans, 23, at the house.

The men had met at the house to do a cocaine deal, but Miran Thakrar, a small-time drug dealer, was angry that he had been sold poor quality cocaine previously by the Cowells and was out for revenge.

Miran Thakrar shot the family dog and then lined up Keith Cowell, Matthew Cowell and Mr Dulieu, and shot them dead as his brother Kevan looked on.

The brothers also shot and stabbed Ms Jennings and attacked Ms Evans with a knife as she tried to shield her three-year-old daughter.

The case was described by trial judge Mr Justice Cooke as a "cold-blooded multiple murder carried out in a savage way''.

Jonathan Auburn was present at the hearing as lawyer for the Justice Secretary, who will defend the prison authorities when the case next comes before the courts.

If Thakrar wins his case, he will be able to sue the authorities for damages.

Last November at Newcastle Crown Court Thakrar was cleared of two counts of attempted murder and three counts of wounding with intent after an incident at Frankland Prison in County Durham.

He admitted lashing out with a broken bottle and injuring three prison guards but the jury agreed he acted in self-defence in a "pre-emptive strike'' after suffering years of alleged racist bullying.

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