Man Jailed For Murder Appeals Conviction

An Ipswich man found guilty of stabbing a 79-year-old widow to death during a break-in at her home is challenging his conviction.

33-year-old Simon Hall, a power company office worker, was 25 when he was jailed for life for the murder of Joan Albert after a trial at Norwich Crown Court in 2003.

His case has been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), an independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice. Three judges in London will hear his appeal which centres on fresh forensic evidence.

When the CCRC referred the case in October 2009 it said it had carried out a wide-ranging investigation, including "examining issues raised by Mr Hall and his legal team and his supporters''.

It added: "The referral is based, however, exclusively on a forensic development identified and pursued by the commission and centres on fresh forensic analysis of fibre samples taken from the crime scene and other locations during the original police investigation.

The commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Appeal because it believes that new forensic evidence is capable of undermining key forensic evidence presented at the trial and therefore raises the real possibility that the court would quash the murder conviction.''

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.

Prosecutors said Hall broke into Mrs Albert's home with the intention of stealing and attacked the pensioner when she disturbed him. They said fibres, probably from a fleece, found on Mrs Albert's body and at her home matched fibres found in Hall's room and car.

Hall, who denied murder and said he had been out drinking at the time of the crime, knew Mrs Albert because his mother had walked her dog and run errands for her, jurors were told.

A previous conviction appeal was dismissed in 2004.