Hall vows to fight on after appeal bid fails

SIMON Hall and his supporters have pledged to fight on despite the 33-year-old failing to overturn his conviction for the murder of 79-year-old Joan Albert.

Yesterday at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Pitchford said he and his two fellow judges were dismissing Hall’s appeal over the stabbing to death of Mrs Albert at her Capel St Mary home.

Following the judgment, Hall’s wife Stephanie said: “I am angry with the justice system. 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.”

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

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“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.”

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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.”

Hall’s solicitor Correna Platt said: “Simon and his family are devastated by the outcome of the hearing. His legal team is concerned by the approach taken by the court in coming to this decision.

“It was agreed by all that this conviction rested entirely on the expert evidence relating to fibre evidence, and there is much other evidence that pointed away from Simon’s guilt.”

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.

“While we have concluded that the fibre evidence given at trial was incomplete in its description and analysis of the available source material – and in its identification of green polyester fibres – wrong, 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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