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Capel St Mary: After 12 years Simon Hall finally confesses to murdering Joan Albert

PUBLISHED: 10:29 08 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 08 August 2013

Simon Hall

Simon Hall

The family of Joan Albert have waited for 12 long years for the closure they so desperately needed after the pensioner's brutal murder in December 2001.

Capel St Mary murder

The body of former hairdresser Joan Albert was found in the hallway of her Capel St Mary home in 2001.

The 79-year-old’s body was discovered peppered with stab wounds after her friends raised concerns about her wellbeing on December 16.

Following a lengthy investigation, Simon Hall was arrested at his home in Hill House Road, Ipswich, on suspicion of murder on day 221 of Operation Magdala, the codename given to the crime.

He was subsequently charged with her murder in July 2002.

Hall’s trial was heard at Norwich Crown Court where he was found guilty of stabbing Mrs Albert to death after a bungled burglary at her home in Boydlands.

After a 12-day trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Hall always maintained he had been elsewhere at the time of the killing.

In a letter to crime correspondent Colin Adwent, sent in July 2009, Hall wrote: “To this day I have maintained that I am innocent of this crime and many people believe that to be the case.

“I don’t know if I will get my chance back in court to prove my innocence but I will keep fighting to that end.”

Hall appealed his conviction but it was dismissed in April 2004.

He then applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) for a review in June 2005.

In 2009, the CCRC referred Hall’s conviction for appeal as it found new forensic evidence based on fibre samples taken from the crime scene and other locations during the original police investigation.

The appeal failed to overturn his conviction.

He submitted a second application to the CCRC which was accepted in February 2012 with another review set to take place.

Hall had always strenuously denied killing the pensioner until his confession.

But today, they can move forward with their lives after Simon Hall finally admitted carrying out the killing.

The 35-year-old was convicted of stabbing to death the 79-year-old at her Capel St Mary home in 2001 but had always protested his innocence – until now.

Hall confessed murdering Mrs Albert to prison authorities – an admission which has come much to the relief to her family who can now move on after more than a decade of anguish.

In a statement issued to this newspaper, her relatives said: “Our family has been informed by Suffolk police that Simon Hall, convicted of murdering our aunt Joan Albert on December 16, 2001, at Capel St Mary, has finally admitted his guilt to prison authorities.

“This comes after him protesting his innocence since being convicted in 2003 of this crime at Norwich Crown Court.

“Numerous appeals have been conducted throughout this time with the current application being withdrawn and subsequently the case has now been closed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

“During the last 10 years the publicity surrounding the appeals has been very distressing for our family making moving on impossible but we would like to thank Suffolk police including Roy Lambert and his team, who carried out the original investigation, to present day officers who continue to support us.

“We are also grateful to those who have helped us throughout this difficult ordeal.”

Mrs Albert, who lived in Boydlands, was stabbed five times by Hall, formerly of Hill House Road, Ipswich. A lengthy police investigation involving a team of more than 20 detectives followed.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Over the 10 years since Hall’s conviction there have been a number of appeals and campaigns which have asserted that Simon Hall was wrongfully convicted of Mrs Albert’s murder.

“These events and the related uncertainty have undoubtedly exacerbated the suffering Mrs Albert’s family have had to endure since Joan was murdered. “We sincerely hope that Simon Hall’s admissions to having committed this brutal crime will in some way enable the family to move on with their lives.”

Hall submitted two applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to consider his case after he claimed he was wrongly convicted.

His case was heard at the Court of Appeal in 2010 but his conviction was upheld.

A spokesman said the CCRC was informed Hall had confessed to Mrs Albert’s murder and contacted Hall asking if he wanted his current application withdrawn. His case has now been closed.

The spokesman added: “That Simon Hall has now confessed to the murder does not change the fact that this was a complicated case and that, while he continued to claim that he had not done it, there was uncertainty about aspects of the case that needed to be investigated in the light of these claims.

“This situation has now obviously changed that he has confessed to the murder of Mrs Albert and the Commission has closed its investigation.”

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