A notorious killer known as the Black Panther, who murdered Shropshire heiress in the 1970s, must never be released from prison, a High Court judge has ruled.
Donald Neilson, who murdered Lesley Whittle in 1975 and also shot dead three sub-postmasters during armed robberies, had applied for the setting of a minimum jail term which would have given him a chance of parole.
But, Mr Justice Teare, sitting in London, announced that Neilson's current "whole life" tariff must remain. He said: "This is a case where the gravity of the applicant's offences justifies a whole life order."
The judge rejected argument on behalf of 71-year-old Neilson, who was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment at Oxford Crown Court in 1976, that the sentencing "starting point" should be one of 30 years.
Neilson, a jobbing builder, kidnapped 17-year-old Lesley Whittle from her home in Highley, Shropshire, leaving a ransom demand for £50,000.
Her body was later found in an underground drainage system hanging from the bottom of a ladder to which Neilson had secured her by the neck with wire. A post-mortem revealed that she had died from terror and shock.
Mr Justice Teare said that between February and November 1974, Neilson - who lived in Bradford - "shot and killed three sub-postmasters in the course of armed robberies of their premises".
He added: "The trial judge said that the applicant (Neilson) never set out without a loaded shotgun or other loaded weapon and that he never hesitated to shoot to kill whenever he thought he was in danger of arrest or of detection."
The fourth murder, committed between January 3 and March 7 1975, was that of Lesley Whittle.
Mr Justice Teare said: "The three murders of sub-postmasters involved a substantial degree of premeditation because the applicant took with him a loaded firearm which he was prepared to use.
"They were committed for gain. The victims were particularly vulnerable because of their occupation.
"The manner in which the young girl was killed demonstrates that it too involved a substantial degree of premeditation or planning. It also involved the abduction of the young girl."
The judge said that there "are and were no mitigating features".
Mr Justice Teare added: "The trial judge said that the applicant's sentence of life imprisonment must mean life and that if he ever were released from prison it should only be on account of great age or infirmity."
It was plain from the sentencing remarks of the trial judge that Neilson was "ruthlessly prepared to shoot to kill if he considered such action necessary".
The location and manner of Lesley Whittle's death "indicates that she must have been subjected by the applicant to a dreadful and horrific ordeal".