50 years for murder not enough says brother of Beckton murder victim Daniel Handley

The brother of murdered Beckton schoolboy Daniel Handley says 50 years in jail is too short a sentence for his killer.

David Handley talked to the Recorder after High Court judges said they could not increase Timothy Morss’ 50-year tariff.

David said: “It’s not long enough but it will do for now. We’re assuming it will be reviewed.”

Daniel’s family expressed their outrage last year when it was revealed that Morss had taken steps that could shorten his sentence.

In a case that shocked the nation, Morss was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey in 1996 after admitting Daniel’s murder.

He and fellow paedophile, Brett Tyler, had subjected the lad to a horrifying sexual ordeal before strangling him in a motorway lay-by.

Both the judge who sentenced him and the Lord Chief Justice recommended that Morss, now 49, should never be freed.

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The final decision lay with the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who set his minimum term at an unprecedented 50 years.


Reviewing the case at the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Blair, said the crime was so heinous Morss should serve the whole of his natural life in jail.

However, the judge said he was bound by the former Home Secretary’s ruling.

After reading heart-rending statements from Daniel’s family describing their terrible continuing ordeal, Mr Justice Blair said he was convinced that this was one of those rare cases where a whole life sentence should have been imposed.

The ruling means that, although in his 80s by the time his minimum sentence expires, Morss can apply for parole in 2045.

Daniel, nine, was fixing a chain on his bicycle in Beckton, in October 1994 when the pair kidnapped him. His body was buried on waste ground near Morss’ home in Bristol.

Daniel’s skull was uncovered by a scavenging fox six months later and his remains had to be identified from dental records.

Morss claimed that his 50-year tariff was “grossly excessive”. It was argued he should have been given more credit for his guilty plea and a term of 25-30 years would be enough to pay his debt to society.