September 2, 2009
British inmate wins right to laser surgery
A British prison inmate serving a life sentence for double murder won the right to have the country's National Health Service remove his birthmark.
Denis Harland Roberts, an inmate at Durham's Frankland Prison, went to court to seek laser surgery to remove a congenital birthmark from the left side of his face, The Daily Mail reported.
He said he received laser treatments, the last in 2007, that lightened and removed about 30 percent of the birthmark after a dermatologist cited not only the embarrassment it caused but also nodules he began developing.
Roberts contended his violent temper was linked to childhood bullying he endured because of the birthmark. He said after the most recent treatments stopped, he became depressed, and his attorney, Adam Sraw, said the depression caused his client's violent temper to resurface.
Roberts' case called attention to a British law that stipulates that inmates are entitled to the same medical services as any other Briton. But the law restricts inmates' access to cosmetic and other non-urgent treatments.
Roberts was convicted in 1991 of breaking into an elderly couple's home and stabbing them to death.