Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teacher `Robbed of Fair Trial by His Wife'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teacher `Robbed of Fair Trial by His Wife'

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mike Taylor And Jan Colley

Teacher Sion Jenkins, convicted six years ago of murdering his foster daughter Billie-Jo, was robbed of a fair trial by misleading information from his wife, three appeal judges were told yesterday.

If the jurors had heard the evidence which had since been gathered, they might well have acquitted him, said Clare Montgomery QC in the Court of Appeal.

Jenkins, 46, a deputy head teacher, was jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court in 1998 for battering 13-year-old Billie-Jo to death with an 18in metal tent spike as she painted a patio door at their home in Hastings, East Sussex, on the afternoon of Saturday, February 15, 1997.

It was alleged that, during a three-minute visit to the house, Jenkins had an argument with Billie-Jo, lost his temper, hit her over the head at least 10 times and then drove off on a shopping trip with his natural daughters, Lottie and Annie.

His wife, Lois Jenkins had, the court heard, been faced with "a terrible dilemma for a mother" when she became convinced of her husband's guilt and felt she had to protect herself and her other children.

She told police that Lottie and Annie, who were with her husband on the day of the murder, had changed their original stories, which had backed their father's denial of murder.

Defence lawyers, believing the two girls were hostile to their father, decided not to call them as witnesses, said Miss Montgomery.

The lawyers had been misled, she said.

She challenged the prosecution view that Lois Jenkins could have had no reason for giving misleading information.

From 10 days after the killing ( when she was told by police that her husband was undoubtedly guilty ( she believed it to be so.

"So you have a mother who believes her husband, the father of her children, has killed one of them," said Miss Montgomery.

"She is terrified about him returning home and she understands that the children's evidence nevertheless might lead to her murderous and dangerous husband being released and being sent back into the family. …

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