Family’s anger after Hall murder appeal thrown out

CAPEL ST MARY: Simon Hall’s family rounded on the British justice system after his appeal against conviction for the murder of Joan Albert was thrown out

Despite their anger over the failed bid they pledged to continue the fight to overturn his conviction.

Yesterday at the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Pitchford said he and his two fellow judges were dismissing Hall’s appeal. In their judgment they described the fibre evidence which convicted Hall as “compelling”.

Following the hearing Hall’s mother Lynne, of Capel St Mary, said: “It’s a bitter blow. We were just in shock (when we were told). My body went numb.

“I am absolutely disgusted and disappointed with the British justice system, but we cant give up.”

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Hall’s wife Stephanie said: “I am angry. I believe this decision is an affront to justice.

“Simon is naturally gutted, but we have been preparing for this. Simon is determined to clear his name. He’s been in prison for more than eight-and-a-half years and he knows we are not going to stop fighting.”

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However, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Joan Albert was found dead at her home in Capel St Mary on December 16, 2001.

“After an extensive investigation involving a team of more than 20 detectives, Hall was arrested, charged and subsequently convicted of Mrs Albert’s murder in February 2003.

“The Court of Appeal has today upheld that conviction, demonstrating that our investigation was both thorough and sound.”

District Crown Prosecutor Nigel Gilbert, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Being confident in the original conviction we have opposed this referral throughout and today’s decision by the Court of Appeal confirms the safety of Hall’s original conviction.”

During Hall’s appeal, the court heard the 33-year-old’s conviction relied on the rarity and identical nature of fibre evidence found at Mrs Albert’s home in Boydlands and at Hall’s parents’ house in Snowcroft, where he was living at the time of the murder.

Expert textile analyst Tiernan Coyle said he had established there were differences between the fibres found.

However, in its judgment, the Court of Appeal said: “Upon the evidence presented to this court we conclude that Mr Coyle’s evidence does not give rise to any ground for allowing the appeal.

“We are quite satisfied that the scientific support for the assertion that the appellant was the source of the fibres found at the crime scene is compelling.

“We have no reason to doubt the safety of the jury’s verdict.”

During yesterday’s hearing Danielle Cooper, representing Hall, gave notice his team would be challenging the appeal court’s decision.

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