Mark Bridger joins a small group of prisoners whose crimes are deemed so appalling they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Even notorious killers like 12-year-old Tia Sharp's murderer Stuart Hazell, and Soham killer Ian Huntley did not receive whole life tariffs. Huntley was convicted of murdering 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2003.

According to Ministry of Justice figures, Bridger's sentencing takes the number of prisoners for whom life means life to 48.

It is a sentence reserved for the most shocking crimes. Notorious cases include Moors Murderer Ian Brady, who tortured and murdered children along with accomplice Myra Hindley, as well as murderer and robber Donald Neilson, ''The Black Panther'', who shot and killed three sub-postmasters.

In 2008 club bouncer Levi Bellfield was told he would die in prison for murdering two young women and trying to murder a third.

In the same month, Steve Wright was also given a "whole life" term for the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich, as he was told his ''targeted campaign of murder'' warranted the harshest punishment available to the judge.

The only woman on the list is Rose West, who was convicted in 1995. A killing spree with husband Fred saw 10 young women murdered - eight within a two-year period.

Robert John Maudsley, known as 'Hannibal the Cannibal' was alleged to have eaten part of the brain of one of three men he killed in prison.

Killer Jeremy Bamber, convicted of killing his adoptive parents, sister and her two young children in 1985, is battling, along with two other murderers, against their ''whole-life'' jail terms, appealing to judges in Europe to rule that it breaches their human rights.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Mark Bridger

    Mark Bridger was given a life sentence for the abduction and murder of schoolgirl April Jones. Bridger a former slaughterhouse worker has been jailed for life for abducting and murdering a 5-year-old girl whose body was never found despite a massive police search. April Jones was last seen getting into a van in the town of Machynlleth, Wales, in October 2012.

  • Ian Brady

    Ian Brady, Moors Murderer of five children

  • Steve Wright

    Steve Wright, serial killer, nicknamed the Suffolk Strangler

  • Levi Bellfield

    Levi Bellfield, convicted of the abduction and murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler .

  • Jeremy Bamber

    Jeremy Bamber was was jailed for life in 1986 after being convicted of shooting dead his mother, father, sister and twin nephews at the family farmhouse in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex.

  • Rosemary West

    Rosemary West issued by the Police after she had been imprisoned for life on ten counts of murder.

  • John Duffy

    John Duffy was branded him one of Britain's most dangerous serial sex attackers. His prison cell confession to 25 sex attacks that he could recall astonished police and instantly made him one of the most infamous serial rapists. He was jailed for rape and murder.

  • Donald Neilson

    Donald Neilson, 73, was convicted of murdering three postmasters and the 17-year-old coach firm heiress Lesley Whittle in 1976. He is imprisoned at HMP Norwich, where he was diagnosed in 2008 with Motor Neurone Disease.

  • Arthur Hutchinson

    Arthur Hutchinson, aged 43, from Hartlepool in Co Durham, who begins his murder trial at Durham Crown Court today. He would be found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Basil Laitner (aged 59), Basil's wife 55-year-old Avril, and their 28-year-old son Richard. He was also charged for the rape of their 18-year-old daughter Nicola.

  • Peter Moore

    Cinema manager Peter Moore was found guilty in Mold Crown Court of the serial murders of four men "for fun". Moore, 56, described as "the man in black", sat impassively in the dock as the jury found him guilty on all four counts of murder over a three-month period.