May hailed for 'life-saving' ruling

Home Secretary Theresa May made a "life-saving decision" when she used the Human Rights Act to block the extradition of computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States, his mother has said.

Janis Sharp, who was overwhelmed by the emotional rollercoaster of the 10-year fight against extradition, said it was such a relief to see her son smile for the first time in years.

Mr McKinnon was accused by US prosecutors of "the biggest military computer hack of all time", but he claims he was simply looking for evidence of UFOs.

It will now be for the director of public prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer QC to decide whether Mr McKinnon should face charges in the UK.

Mrs May stopped his extradition on human rights grounds after medical reports showed the 46-year-old was very likely to try to kill himself if extradited.

"After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights," she told MPs.

A so-called forum bar will also be introduced to extradition proceedings to enable British courts to decide whether a person should stand trial in the UK or abroad, Mrs May added.

Ms Sharp said: "I know it's been a life-saving decision because Gary doesn't travel abroad, he doesn't go on holiday, he very rarely leaves north London, and to be taken from everything you know, your family, everything, thousands of miles away is so terrifying to him. I can understand that he felt he would rather be dead."

The last 10 years had been "horrendous" because her son would "just sit in the dark all the time", she added.

The US Department of Justice said the United States "is disappointed by the UK Home Secretary's decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon, particularly given the past decisions of the UK courts and prior home secretaries that he should face trial in the United States".