Pensioner killer's appeal bid rejected

THE mother of a former accounts worker jailed for life for murdering a pensioner vowed last nightto fight to clear his name after he was refused leave to appeal against his conviction.

THE mother of a former accounts worker jailed for life for murdering a pensioner vowed last nightto fight to clear his name after he was refused leave to appeal against his conviction.

Lynne Hall said her son Simon's legal team would refer his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in a bid to get his conviction for killing 79-year-old Joan Albert quashed.

Mrs Hall was speaking after three judges rejected Hall's application for leave to appeal at a hearing at London's High Court yesterday.

She said: "We expected it but we are disappointed by it. The legal system is so limited and having to deal in the confinements of it meant that part of the picture could not be shown.

"We are going to fight on. If anybody in the village can add anything to it, or if someone out there might know something, which could be very important please come forward.

"The Criminal Cases Review Commission is the next step. There is new evidence to put forward."

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Hall, 26, of Hill House Road, Ipswich, was found guilty of murdering Mrs Albert at her Capel St Mary home in December 2001.

The elderly widow had suffered a number of stab wounds inflicted by a knife which was taken from the house.

Hall, who worked in both Colchester and Ipswich, was convicted by a majority verdict following a 12 day trial at Norwich Crown Court in March last year. Yesterday's hearing was heard by Lord Justice Rose, Mr Justice Hughes, and Mrs Justice Gloster.

Lawyers representing Hall criticised the original trial judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, in her summing up of evidence relating to matching fibres.

During the original trial, the Court heard thousands of microscopic black flock fibres and also green polyester fibres were found by forensic experts in Mrs Albert's home, which matched those found in the bottom of Hall's bedroom wardrobe, Audi car and in his Hill House Road home.

Peter Rouch QC said: "We would submit during the course of that summing up references made to it did not reflect in any way the full nature of the evidence and secondly the importance that the jury must attach to it, especially when the Crown itself relies on circumstantial evidence.

"Basically, comments made by the trial judge in dealing with significant evidence devalued and dismissed it. We seek leave to appeal to pursue this appeal against conviction."

Mr Rouch also raised questions about the time framework in which Joan Albert had been murdered, which the Crown claimed had been between 5.30am and 6.15am.

He told the judges of two witnesses who claimed to have been woken on the night of Mrs Albert's murder by a crashing noise around 2am.

"The whole of that evidence tied in together, we would submit that the murder could have happened at 2am at a time when this applicant could not have committed it," said Mr Rouch.

During the trial, the jury heard Hall drank at a pub in Ipswich on the night of her murder and went onto Liquid nightclub before he returned to the Old Rep pub for a lock-in.

He claimed he drove home after dropping Jamie Barker off in Ipswich and arrived at his house in Snowcroft at 6.28am.

Mr Rouch said the Crown's case had relied on circumstantial evidence.

"There is no DNA, no fingerprints found at the scene.

"There was no glass fragments found on the defendant or clothing or property associated with him or indeed cars associated with him.

"Footwear impressions were found at the scene. Analysis of those seemed to suggest the shoe size was smaller than that of the applicant," he added.

In rejecting the application for leave to appeal, Lord Justice Rose said: "In the course of summing up, judges make observations of the evidence which may or may not be categorised as necessary or unnecessary.

"Mr Rouch submits the judge's questions did not reflect the importance of their evidence to the defence case and her comment inappropriately devalued that evidence.

"It is apparent that the learned judge was significantly directing the jury to the importance which the defence attach to the noises at or about 2am.

"The assessment of the fibre evidence in particular was a matter for the jury. They knew and were indeed significantly reminded there was no DNA, fingerprint evidence, or glass fragments."

He concluded there were no arguable grounds that the jury's verdict was unsafe.

After the hearing, Crown prosecutor Robert Sadd, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Suffolk said: "Such a brutal murder of a defenceless woman is exceptionally rare in Suffolk, which enjoys a low crime rate.

"Today the Court of Appeal rejected the application by Simon Hall to appeal against his conviction, declaring that the original conviction was safe.

"While at this time our thoughts are with the family of the victim, this decision should also go some way to assuring the people of Suffolk.

"Even with such an exceptional and brutal murder, the close working relationship and dedication of the CPS and police in Suffolk led to a solid investigation and safe prosecution."

Mrs Albert's niece, Glynis Dzundza , a nurse from Ipswich, said last night that she and her family were "trying to forget" about what had happened and would not go to any appeal Hall may be granted.

When asked if she was still convinced that Hall had killed her aunt she replied: "Until anything else is proved otherwise then we can't think anything else."

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