I WAS prompted to write this letter after the news of Peter Sutcliffe’s death, which I believe is nearly 40 years too late for the relatives and friends of his victims. For nearly 40 years he has been in prison for his crimes where he will have gained a celebrity status, lived a comfortable life, received offers of marriage from deluded women and cost the state a fortune to keep him.

When the death penalty was abolished in 1963 the majority of the public was in favour of keeping it and I believe this is still the case, but whilst we have by and large a liberal Parliament upheld by a mainly wishy washy Law Lords and judges this will continue to be the case.

I can understand why people are against the death penalty and they will always bring up the case of Timothy Evans, wrongly convicted and executed, but it is my belief this would not happen today with the advances of DNA.

I would ask all those against the death penalty, if it was a relative of theirs who had been his victim or a victim of the Moors murderers, the Black Panther, Dennis Neilson or a Terrorist would they still hold their beliefs.

To further my argument one of the reasons given was that a life imprisonment, meaning life would be imposed in all cases. What a joke. I can’t support my argument with figures, but I believe that there have been hundreds of murders committed by prisoners released who should still be in prison or executed.

Finally, I am only advocating the death penalty be considered in cases of malice aforethought.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.