Simon Hall Loses Appeal Over Murder Conviction

A man from Ipswich who has spent years behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit has lost a challenge against his conviction.

A man from Ipswich who has spent years behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit has lost a challenge against his conviction.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by 33-year-old Simon Hall, from Ipswich in Suffolk, who was found guilty in 2003 of stabbing a 79-year-old widow during a break-in at her home.

Lord Justice Pitchford, Mrs Justice Dobbs and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker had been urged to overturn the conviction as ``unsafe'' in the light of ``fresh'' scientific evidence relating to fibres.

Hall, a power company office worker was 25 when he was jailed for life after a trial at Norwich Crown Court for killing Joan Albert. He denied murder and has continued to protest his innocence.

Mrs Albert's body was found in the hallway of her home in Capel St Mary in Suffolk in December 2001. She had been stabbed five times.

On Friday the appeal judges ruled: ``We have no reason to doubt the safety of the jury's verdict and the appeal is dismissed.''

The judges stated in a written ruling: ``While we have concluded that the fibre evidence given at trial was incomplete in its description and analysis of the available source material, and 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.''

Later, Hall's solicitor Correna Platt, of Stephensons Solicitors, said: ``Simon and his family are devastated by the outcome of the hearing. His legal team are concerned by the approach taken by the (appeal) court in coming to this decision. It was agreed by all that his conviction rested entirely on expert evidence relating to fibre evidence, and there is much other evidence that pointed away from Simon's guilt.''

Ms Platt said the ``right and proper'' outcome would have been for the appeal judges to have sent the case back, with the new evidence, to a jury ``as the jury are the final arbiters of disputes of this kind and not the Court of Appeal. Simon has had tremendous support from many sources.

He is grateful to all those concerned and remains determined to fight to prove his innocence.''

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