Hall pledges to continue appeal fight

SEVEN years ago this Saturday, Simon Hall was arrested for the murder of Joan Albert in Capel St Mary.

Colin Adwent

SEVEN years ago this Saturday, Simon Hall was arrested for the murder of Joan Albert in Capel St Mary. Although convicted of the 79-year-old's death, he maintains his innocence in a letter from prison to crime reporter COLIN ADWENT.

DAMNING black fibres found on Joan Albert matched evidence in two cars and houses connected to Simon Hall, the prosecution alleged at his trial.

Prosecutor Graham Parkins told Norwich Crown Court that Mrs Albert was murdered at her home in Boydlands, Capel St Mary early on December 16, 2001.

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The jury heard Hall broke into the house through a window to burgle the property after returning to his adoptive parents' home village following a night out in Ipswich.

However, the court was told Hall disturbed Mrs Albert and knowing the 79-year-old would recognise him he panicked, grabbed a carving knife and inflicted multiple stab wounds on the pensioner.

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In his opening speech Mr Parkins said the prosecution case hinged on forensic evidence gathered by scenes of crime officers and analysed by forensic scientists.

He alleged Hall, of Hill House Road, Ipswich, made attempts to get rid of the clothing and footwear he wore on the night Mrs Albert was killed.

But scientists said fibres from his clothing, left behind on a fence outside the pensioner's home and on her body were identical and they also found more of these fibres against a wardrobe in the house where Hall lived with is parents as well as in a flat he later lived in and two cars he was using at the time of Mrs Albert's death.

Hall, then aged 25, was convicted of murder on February 28, 2003.

He is currently serving a mandatory life sentence for murder at HMP Kingston in Portsmouth.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is currently looking at Hall's case to assess whether he has grounds for an appeal.

The prison letter from Simon Hall:-

“ON July 25, 2009, it will be seven years since I was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Joan Albert and I have been in custody ever since.

To this day I have maintained that I am innocent of this crime and many people believe that to be the case.

I am not the same man taken bewilderedly into a Suffolk police station.

Where I have become older and wiser, I have also become more pessimistic, cynical and less trusting, but only of authority and of course justice.

In the past seven years I have had the privilege to meet some amazing people who tirelessly campaign to right the many wrongs that continue to plague the (justice) system.

There have been three recent high profile cases of miscarriages of justice. Barry George in 2008, Sean Hodgson in April of this year after serving 27 years, and Ian Lawless after eight years in prison was released last month.

I am happy to see them finally get their justice, but it isn't really justice if they should never have spent a day behind bars is it?

Then there are those who cannot get their cases back to the Court of Appeal.

I'm in no doubt that the public would feel that there is a good reason for them not being able to get their convictions quashed - because they must be guilty?

No - because the system isn't about innocence or guilt at this stage, it's about whether the conviction is 'safe by law'.

All evidence available at trial is not considered when it comes to appeals. The question raised is actually whether new evidence can be found.

There are many men and women languishing in prison because although they are innocent, they cannot find the evidence to satisfy the criteria for appealing their convictions.

On the internet there are many sites telling the stories of those who find themselves locked up in prison for crimes they did not commit.

These have usually been set up by families and friends of the innocent person. There are also various organizations that campaign for these people, such as Innocence Network UK, MOJUK, SAFARI.

All these people and organisations are unsung heroes of the justice system, tirelessly campaigning, trying to raise awareness of the cases.

I was lucky enough to be chosen by the BBC for a Rough Justice documentary which was aired in Spring 2007. It helped my confidence levels at that time, which were at an all time low.

I had been using heroin as a coping mechanism and found myself in a really bad way.

All the findings were forwarded to the CCRC and I am still waiting for an answer from them as to whether they will refer my case.

I am also lucky enough to have the support of my amazing wife Stephanie, who I married last year here in Kingston prison.

She keeps my spirits up and does all she can to help make this nightmare a little easier.

She's also doing as much as she can to get me out of prison and one of those things is a demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday.

So what does the future hold for me? I will have served 13 years before I am even considered for parole, but I could be in prison for a lot longer than that.

I don't know if I will get my chance back in court to prove my innocence, but Stephanie and I will keep fighting to that end.

I need to get my life back so that Stephanie and me can be living as a married couple should, so that we can start a family, so that Suffolk Police can re-open the investigation and catch the real killer who is still out there walking among you.”

Simon Hall CT9364

HMP Kingston

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