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.