Killer of Leeds woman Gemma Simpson in jail term appeal

Gemma Simpson.
Gemma Simpson.
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THE killer of Leeds woman Gemma Simpson has launched an appeal against his jail term.

Martin Bell, 46, from Scarborough, says the minimum 12-year sentence he was handed last year violated his human rights.

Bell was given a life sentence at Leeds Crown Court in December for the manslaughter of 23-year-old Miss Simpson.

He was ordered to serve a minimum tariff of 12 years behind bars before he could apply for parole. Bell, a schizophrenic, had pleaded guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He struck Miss Simpson repeatedly with a hammer and stabbed her after telling her “God wants me to kill you” in 2000.

Bell dismembered her body before burying it at Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate.

The taxi driver walked into a Scarborough police station to confess last year and told officers where he had buried Miss Simpson.

Paul Greaney QC, for Bell, yesterday argued the minimum jail term was too harsh.

“If the minimum term had been fixed in accordance with the standards of 2000, it would not have been 12 years but in the region of six years,” said Mr Greaney.

But Simon Myerson QC, for the Crown, said the judge who jailed Bell was “obliged to form a view as to risk and to impose a sentence expressly on the basis of that risk”.

Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Green and Judge Neil Bidder QC, will give a decision on Bell’s appeal at a later date.

Miss Simpson vanished on May 3, 2000, after telling a friend she was catching a bus from Harehills to Leeds city centre.

Her father, Glenn, said last year he was “disgusted” by the shortness of Bell’s sentence.