Replace --*--*-- with [/HTML] at end of each sub-file, Replace **&** with [HTML at beginnings, swapping angle brackets for square brackets Justice for Sion Jenkins - Main Page

Justice for Sion Jenkins - Main Page

Retrial Ordered - details here

On 2 July 1998 Siôn Jenkins was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins.

There are serious concerns about the verdict. There are many unanswered questions about the conduct of the case.

Photograph of Sion Jenkins

Siôn Jenkins has always maintained his complete innocence.

This website is dedicated to a detailed analysis of the case.

It has the aim of reversing a serious miscarriage of justice.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> 2003 - CCRC referral

2003 - CCRC referral

I always thought that the conviction of Siôn Jenkins was a controversial issue, but I have to admit that his wife's statement went some long way in convincing me that I must have been wrong.

It never occurred to me till now that she might just want a divorce.

Good luck with the case.

SD

I have long believed that the case against Siôn Jenkins was unsafe.

I recently watched a documentary (made a few years ago??) that outlined the inaccuracies in the police/CPS case, in particular covering the forensics aspects.

I was married to a CPS lawyer for 8 years and I know that biased detectives play a major role in prosecution decisions when they should not.

I do not know if Mr Jenkins is known to you personally but I wish him the strength and hope to continue through until his name is cleared.

On a separate note, (re. 'The Wife's Story' ) I would like to add that I have rarely read such an articulate, lucid and well-addressed response to a newspaper article.

MN

Wonderful news that the Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred Siôn's case back to the Court of Appeal. Wish him and the campaign all the best in the next few trying months.

I did write to Jack Straw and the CCRC some time ago outlining my doubts about some of the "so-called" evidence against Siôn. I can write some more letters if you think this would be appropriate.

It takes courage to keep up the fight and I applaud you all. Siôn has got to be restored to his family, and allowed to get on with his life./p>

CK

This is a deeply troubling and worrying case. I do hope that it gets resolved before too long. A prison sentence resulting from a wrongful conviction must be a nightmare for the victim.

I'm writing this from Adelaide, although I used to live in Hastings some years ago.

PD

Good luck in the appeal, we have followed the case since day one and often talked about it. We will be thinking of you.

TW

Just to offer my support to Siôn and hope that justice is eventually done. I've had personal experience of the police and judiciary presenting ' their evidence' to get the result they want! Keep fighting Siôn, the truth will out!

AJ

Good luck with the appeal!

LM

We would like you to pass our best wishes to Mr. Jenkins. We have written before, as we as a family have suffered at the hands of Sussex Police. We have always believed in his innocence, right from the very beginning of his trial, and could not believe it when he was found guilty.

We know from personal experience that his problem arose because he couldn't believe that Sussex Police could possibly consider him to be guilty. The officers concerned are not over-bright but possess a malevolent chip on their shoulder against those who do not take them seriously. This, combined with a complete inability to discern right from wrong and a lack of common sense, makes them very dangerous indeed.

We feel sure that Siôn will win this appeal, following which Jeremy Payne and his associates will be clearly exposed as amoral thugs.

Please tell Siôn that he has not been forgotten - we lose no opportunity to point out the injustice of his imprisonment. Also, please let us know if there is anything concrete we can do, other than networking.

Kind regards.

PC

I have recently visited your website for Sion Jenkins. I'd just like to offer my support. I am a writer who has written three articles on cases of miscarriages of justice...I hope that justice prevails in the near future.

Best wishes.

SL

I am currently studying the increasing problem and increasing number of Miscarriages of Justice in the UK as part of a documentary I am proposing for my course.

The case of Siôn Jenkins is an extremely distressing, troubling and unjust one and I have found it both shocking and intriguing to learn of the way he was charged. In particular, the corruption of the Sussex police force and the way they manipulated the case for their own ends is an issue that needs to be addressed.

From the research I have carried out, it would seem the pressure for police to convict is an extremely common cause of innocent people being convicted. As part of my documentary, I want to seek to show people that our current law and policing systems do not work and are heavily flawed...

MW

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Active Support

Active Support

I know that there is nothing practical that I can do to help you ( if there is I would like to know) but I felt compelled to just let you know that I am trying to raise awareness of his case and present the facts - the real facts, not the media 'facts'.

I know the power of the mass media and I am always dismayed when I find that once more, journalistic and moral integrity have been swept aside and damaging untruths continue to jeopardise everything that he is striving for. If there is anything at all that I can help you with, please let me know.

AL

Like many, I was, and remain, convinced that the guilty verdict on Mr Jenkins was a miscarriage of justice.

A recent, minor event in my life reminded me of Siôn's continuing imprisonment and I found your website whilst searching for info on his case.

Is there anything I can do to help? I have excellent communication skills (I trained as a journalist many years ago) and am keen to help your cause. Please let me know if you could do with some assistance.

RT

I wish your campaign well and hope that Mr Jenkins remains strong and positive. It appears that innocent people must suffer because those in power are reluctant to accept or acknowledge the flaws in our ju stice system. Until flaws are addressed, improvements cannot be made. Keep fighting and have faith that justice will be done. EC

I can't understand why the police didn't investigate further the evidence of someone lurking around the premises at the time of the murder and the man running down the passageway at the back of the house!! Was it because, I wonder, this was the easy option for them, heaven for bid it could happen to any of us!!

Although I have never met Siôn or his family I do feel that the police had 'stitched' Siôn up with the murder just to get the case cleared up. I do hope and pray that the evidence needed to release him from prison will turn up very soon and he can continue his life as a free man.

Yours very concerned

RJ

Just a quick note in support of your web page. For many years now i have felt as you do that Siôn Jenkins was and is innocent. I would be very grateful if you could send me details of how i can support you in this campaign to free an innocent man.

Also if you are in contact with Siôn Jenkins, please remind him that a lot of people are still very interested in seeing justice done and hope to see him freed soon.

JC

I've been finding your site and contents really interesting and eye opening.

I'm a second year forensic science student at the University of Central Lancashire, and I have a current assignment regarding the forensic evidence in this case. I'm finding it quite a disappointing prospect, as the forensic evidence submitted by the prosecution seems to be focused on preconceptions not objectivity, which everyday I am taught not to do

My view is that the forensic evidence was inherently flawed in its collection and portrayal by the police and prosecution.

SH

I am a student of forensic science, and for one of my assignments I have chosen to study the case of Siôn Jenkins.

I just wanted to say that it has really touched me. I believe in his innocence and I admire everything that is being done for him.

JK

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Growing Disbelief.

Growing Disbelief.

I would like to join your support group.

I am a university lecturer with an academic interest in the working of the criminal justice system, and find the whole issue of Penry-Davey J deeply disturbing. I also saw the Trail of Guilt programme and was actually struck by the improbability of the police case.

I would like to support you in any way that I can.

HB

Just a mail to continue to offer my support for the Siôn Jenkins campaign. The evidence about one of the appeal judges being involved with the school and not declaring it was shocking. This is why the British Justice system is failing so many people.

I think that you guys are doing a great job in sending out all the mail, updating the Website, and campaigning so tirelessly, and thank you for that.

Here's to justice.

DW

Once again the Court of Appeal prefers to keep an innocent man locked up than to admit the legal system got it wrong again.

Have they learned nothing from the Birmingham 6?

JMC

At the time of Siôn Jenkins' conviction I was surprised by the verdict but assumed that some of the evidence had not been reported or that I had missed something.

I watched the BBC program recently specifically to reassure myself that the British justice system was not so flawed that it would convict a man of murder on such slight evidence.

I was not reassured at all - the program horrified me. The attitude of the police involved, and the arrogance of the forensic scientists were very scary indeed.

I now know one thing for certain - that he is NOT 'guilty beyond reasonable doubt' of murder.

Keep up the fight for justice - it is important for us all.

SJ

Have always believed Mr. Jenkins to be innocent. Please convey my best wishes.

Good luck with the campaign.

RT

I am aware and seriously concerned at the ability of the media, politicians and legal establishment to accept investigations by the Police as fully conclusive. The simple facts are the Police make many errors of judgement and outright mistakes due in part because of their lack of experience in other walks of life.

Their answer to this is to employ "expert" witnesses who, due to their professional status, are ill equipped to admit possible inconsistencies in their evidence under cross examination.This trait is extremely common especially in people of high academic standing for whom to lose face would be unthinkable. Unfortunately Judges and juries invariably accept their word.

GF

Over time, public disbelief has continued to grow, and people have pledged active support.

I would like to join your support group.

I am a university lecturer with an academic interest in the working of the criminal justice system, and find the whole issue of Penry-Davey J deeply disturbing. I also saw the Trail of Guilt programme and was actually struck by the improbability of the police case.

I would like to support you in any way that I can.

HB

I know that there is nothing practical that I can do to help you ( if there is I would like to know) but I felt compelled to just let you know that I am trying to raise awareness of his case and present the facts - the real facts, not the media 'facts'.

I know the power of the mass media and I am always dismayed when I find that once more, journalistic and moral integrity have been swept aside and damaging untruths continue to jeopardise everything that he is striving for. If there is anything at all that I can help you with, please let me know.

AL

Like many, I was, and remain, convinced that the guilty verdict on Mr Jenkins was a miscarriage of justice.

A recent, minor event in my life reminded me of Siôn's continuing imprisonment and I found your website whilst searching for info on his case.

Is there anything I can do to help? I have excellent communication skills (I trained as a journalist many years ago) and am keen to help your cause. Please let me know if you could do with some assistance.

RT

I wish your campaign well and hope that Mr Jenkins remains strong and positive. It appears that innocent people must suffer because those in power are reluctant to accept or acknowledge the flaws in our ju stice system. Until flaws are addressed, improvements cannot be made. Keep fighting and have faith that justice will be done. EC

I can't understand why the police didn't investigate further the evidence of someone lurking around the premises at the time of the murder and the man running down the passageway at the back of the house!! Was it because, I wonder, this was the easy option for them, heaven for bid it could happen to any of us!!

Although I have never met Siôn or his family I do feel that the police had 'stitched' Siôn up with the murder just to get the case cleared up. I do hope and pray that the evidence needed to release him from prison will turn up very soon and he can continue his life as a free man.

Yours very concerned

RJ

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The First Appeal.

The First Appeal.

We watched the program on ch4 and were appalled at what has happened to this man.It could be any one in this situation, Please give him your best support.

JL

After seeing the Channel 4 Trial and Error investigative documentary, I am convinced that the conviction should be overturned on the new analysis so competently illustrated. The program has completely changed my mind about the significance of the evidence presented at the trial.

If it's of any use to Siôn , please feel to add my name to any record of public opinion about this case, and please contact me if I can be of any more help than this.

TC

Having read todays article in the Mail and now your web page, I would like to offer my support as yet again the British justice system has got it wrong - and yet again another innocent person is in jail.

Good luck with the campaign, especially the appeal

LT

I think that it's brilliant that Siôn is getting a chance to appeal. Even though I only knew the outline of the case, I have always believed that he was innocent, just a gut reaction, I guess you could call it.

Well, here's to praying that he will be released and the true killer caught, convicted and sentenced.

DW

My wife and I have always thought that this was a miscarriage of justice. After reading the article in today's Mail we are even more convinced.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Siôn and we wish him every success with his appeal.

BB

I am just an ordinary member of the public wishing to offer my support. I have never believed the evidence was strong enough to convict and am convinced that the appeal will succeed.

FF

The article in the Daily Mail and your website only goes to confirm what I have believed all along in that Siôn is indeed innocent and a a miscarriage of justice has occurred.

It seems that the overworked police forces of today are only interested in getting a quick result and that in many cases means that important evidence is either dismissed as irrelevant or conveniently ignored as it does not fit in with their very fragile evididence against a suspect.

I hope the screening of the channel 4 program will provide a new momentum in your campaign and I wish you well.

MS

The investigation and prosecution of this case have clearly been highly questionable. Very best of luck with the appeal

HB

Just to let you know that we are still regularly checking into the site and are thinking of you.

What a wonderful Christmas present for everyone if this monstrous miscarriage of justice can be set straight.

I hope Mr. Jenkins is bearing up under a strain which is almost unimaginable.

WD

I am sure I am not the first to say this, but I too have had severe misgivings over the verdict reached at Siôn's trial. Even with the limited knowledge of the case gleaned from the national papers at the time of trial, a conviction seemed most unsafe.

I wish you all success, and equally important, that the real murderer is eventually brought to justice.

SK

Still thinking of you and looking forward to Mr. Jenkins being completely vindicated. Best Wishes,

RD

Just a quick note to those of you involved with this appeal. I have read about this case and seen the television documentary and I share your concerns that a serious miscarriage of justice may well have taken place.

I am monitoring your site for news during the appeal, partly because there is so little coverage in the media, and I hope very much to see a successful outcome.

PW

I was talking to a friend yesterday who used to be a fingerprint expert with the Met. and is a qualified forensic witness. With no prompting from me he analysed the case very succinctly and expressed all the concerns which are held by your supporters.

He would like to come on board.

WR

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Right from the start.

Right from the start.

I have always believed in Siôn Jenkins' innocence.

I am a fairly logical and intelligent person, and usually when I am subjected to high profile murder cases through the media I, like most people, am satisfied that justice prevails when the accused is sentenced to imprisonment.

However, at no point during Siôn's trial did I think that he was guilty. The pieces just did not slot together and it is a huge travesty that he was convicted on such flimsy evidence.

I would like to offer you my help. If I can do anything to assist you in your campaign for Siôn , I would be more than happy to give my time.

AL

(From a village in Sussex) : Siôn Jenkins is, without doubt, innocent.

More power to your elbows to free an innocent man and show our local police for what they really are.

Best wishes.

JJ

Just to add my support for the campaign. I just can't see how someone can be convicted on such flimsy evidence and with no apparent motive. Really frightening.

CT

I believe totally in Siôn 's innocence, and even though I am in a similar position, offer you my full support. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

SM

What can I do to help this innocent man get his freedom and acquittal? I will do all in my power to help.I am convinced he is innocent

..the police have not investigated the person who was seen at and around the scene of the murder. He must be investigated and witnesses to this man's strange behaviour must be listened to.

What can I do to help?

AG

I have been following the case for a while and have visited your site a few times and I agree with you that a bad injustice has happened here. The facts and evidence don't add up .

I think you should fight for the truth and be strong, and the truth will win.

good luck in your fight

VB

For what it is worth, I felt at the time that the case was flawed and so did any right minded friends with whom it was discussed.

Good luck.

WD

This is clearly another example of bad police work in an eagerness to close the case, by taking a "soft target" as in the cases of the Darvell brothers in south Wales and the so called Bridgewater 4.

Siôn Jenkins was convicted, in my opinion, on very questionable evidence.

DF

Hi there, I have been looking at your website, and like yourself I am convinced that a miscarriage of justice has taken place.

I have no legal training but hope that I can help your campaign in some way. If I can let me know and I will do my best to help.

Or perhaps I can help Siôn in some way by writing to him letting him know there are others who believe in his innocence.

CD

I would like to offer my support in over ruling this unjust sentence.

I feel, and have always felt from the first, that whatever type of man Mr Jenkins is or isn't, he didn't kill his foster daughter.

It would appear far more likely given the evidence at the time of the murder and in the weeks before it took place that an intruder, quite possibly the psychiatric patient, is actually responsible.

Forensic evidence is never `incontrovertible` there is always room for error and doubt.

I think that while the police went looking for a `needle in a haystack` when looking for evidence and the murder, that on being unable to find the `needle` they decided to prosecute the `haystack`

Keep up the good work

HL

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Waiting for the appeal..

Waiting for the appeal..

With the appeal judgement imminent, widespread support for Siôn Jenkins is very evident. Messages keep pouring in.

Although I do not know Siôn, I feel compelled to express my support for an innocent man wrongly convicted.

So on the eve of the appeal verdict, regardless of the outcome, I would like to take this chance to express my support and my faith in his total innocence.

I am on tenterhooks for Siôn and everyone connected closely to him on this day, If I'm feeling like this, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for him and his supporters. My sincere wish for you all is that justice will prevail and the truth will out. It is about time.

Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to support his innocence.

SC

I am just writing to wish Siôn Jenkins 'Good luck' with the appeal, and to say that for some time now I have thought that there is an innocent man in jail.

Ever since the original trial I have had an uncomfortable feeling about it, but, like a great many people, I have just shrugged my shoulders and got on with my life. Now, every time I read something about this case, I just find it unbelievable that anyone could be convicted on that evidence.

Good luck and best wishes for a successful appeal. If there is justice then the conviction will be overturned and that should open up some searching questions.

PH

I have followed Siôn's case with interest over the years, as I still believe he is an innocent man. So having never done this before I would just like to say if everything goes his way tomorrow and I hope it does, just wish him all the very best in the future for me. I hope he can get his now shattered life back on track.

BP

When this case was first in the news I believed he was guilty.. since then I have learnt to be a critical thinker.I have read and re-read this site and others, and I find myself utterly dismayed that Siôn Jenkins was ever found guilty.

I am hoping for the best for Sion Jenkins on Friday. Good luck to you all.

RL

I am hoping and praying that the decision goes your way on Friday. If it does, an appalling injustice will be righted.

I wish you the best of luck. My thought are with you all.

NK

I am longing for the Establishment to see sense this coming Friday, and see that an innocent man has been wronged and release him.

As long as justice does prevail, and he is released, then perhaps he'll be allowed the dignity of grieving the loss of his foster daughter ...

With all best wishes for Friday.

PK

Hopefully,Siôn Jenkins' conviction will soon be overturned. Having lived outside the UK for a long time, there appear to me to be quite a few cases of wrongful conviction in Britain. I wonder if this is the sign of a bad system or a good one, in that these are now finally 'coming out' and being reviewed.

The hardest aspect of the Siôn Jenkins' case to understand is the attitude of his wife. It is indeed fortunate that there were some people who continued to believe in his innocence ...

AS

Surely now there can only be one rightful outcome, as there is obviously no case against him.

IG

My wife and I have been convinced of the error of this conviction. Our hearts and prayers go to Mr. Jenkins and his family. We always hold in our mind the picture of his father, mourning his incarceration...

BF

I congratulate you for your efforts, and hope that Siôn will get justice in the end.

DH

My short email is to say that I have always believed that Siôn is innocent. I followed the case from the beginning, through the media, and although there have been slights upon his character, I still believed in his innocence.

I do so hope, for Siôn and all his friends and family that have stood by him throughout, that he will be released from prison as soon as possible.

My thoughts are with Siôn every time the news comes on.

DG

I would like to offer my support to Siôn Jenkins having followed the case since seeing the television programme about the flaws in the prosecution.

I wish him well in his appeal.

HC

I would like to add my support for Siôn Jenkins. I pray that justice will be done in this second appeal and very shortly, Siôn will be a free man.

CR

I'm British, now living in Canada. I was living in the UK when Siôn Jenkins was convicted. I read about it with a sinking heart, as it seemed obvious that there was insufficient evidence against him.

I hope he is released, and I wish him all the best for the future ...

SG

I share your concern at the red herring nature of the alleged confession that the media have widely publicised.

As I drove home the other day Radio 4 News covered the appeal, and referred in detail to the expert witness accepting that he had been wrong to state that there had been no upper airway blockage..

I have looked for coverage of that important retraction in the Guardian and Mail, and on the internet news sources, but have not seen it covered. It's an important issue to get out to people. It seems timely for the police and the crown that the'burglar' diversion should be released at just that time, and eclipse an extremely important move forwards for Siôn's case.

JH

I always wondered about this case. It never struck me as plausible even at the time, though I never examined it that closely. After all, if the police said he did it, they must be right, because they're the police, aren't they?

The more I have looked into it, especially after reading your web-site, the clearer it becomes that a monstrous miscarriage has taken place. An innocent man is locked up because our wonderful 'boys in blue' needed an easy conviction.

This is scandalous. In a 'free' country like Britain that a man so clearly innocent of this appalling crime can be incarcerated whilst the real murderer goes free is unbelievable. I always supported the death penalty previously; this case has made me rethink my view.

I wish Mr. Jenkins every success in this appeal. Nothing can give him back the time he has lost, but he can be set free. He is innocent. Certain members of the Sussex Constabulary should be charged with Conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice, or dismissed for incompetence, as no competent police officer could ever believe the evidence against him.

Good luck in you campaign. Hopefully this time true justice, and not what passes for it in Sussex, will prevail.

JW

I went to Mcentee school and he was my English teacher.In all of my school years I had never had such great open minded education as when I was being taught by him. When it originally came to my attention years ago I couldn't and still don't believe it was him that could have commited such an awful crime.I have a lot of respect for Mr Jenkins and always will have.

I wish him all the very best at his appeal and will make sure i am there to cheer when he is released.

KW

...it would appear that Siôn is indeed a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Best of luck for your campaign. May justice come through at last.

JH

..the police don't care who they get as long as they get someone.

FM

I have been following his case with great interest & dearly hope this innocent man will be free very soon. Time after time innocent people are imprisoned by others' lies & half truths.

NS

This case epitomises the radical need to overhaul the expert witness system currently used by our judicial system. This has been yet another classic example of a system all too ready to believe those who have their own agenda, rather than a pursuit for the truth.

Good luck to all involved, our thoughts are with you.

PM

The evidence against Siôn Jenkins appears very weak indeed.

Did the police forensically examine the alleyway? There would have been muddy footprints.

TR

I'd like to start by saying that there have been some appalling crimes which have left no doubt in my mind about the perpetrator's guilt.

In Siôn Jenkins' case I have never thought there was any case to answer. I can't believe that the jury were convinced beyond 'reasonable doubt'. There is so much doubt, never mind lack of evidence. I hope for Siôn's sake that this appeal will succeed and he will be able to move on.

JJ

..I wonder if David Blunkett will come down as hard on Sussex Constabulary as he has on Humberside? Heads should roll for what was a deliberate miscarriage of justice.

How the people responsible for this can sleep at night, knowing they have used an innocent man to shore up their 'crimes solved' figures whilst leaving the real perpetrator loose on the streets is beyond me.

BQ

I believe Siôn is innocent, and have thought this was one of the UK's biggest miscarriages of justices from day one; there appear to be no palpable facts to suggest I am wrong. I hope he finally obtains his freedom, although nothing will compensate for the years he has lost.

JW

Like an awful lot of people it seems, I am utterly convinced that Siôn Jenkins is innocent of murder.

I have been following the case since the beginning, and cannot believe how he was ever charged with this crime. I live in a village not that far from Hastings, but have no connection with the Jenkins family.

I just wanted to say good luck to everyone involved in this current appeal, and I hope that this time justice will be done for Siôn Jenkins.

EH

It was only last evening that my friend and I were discussing this case, and we both feel very strongly that there has been a massive miscarriage of justice,ineptitude on some parts and an unsavoury element of vindictiveness lurking here too.Please pass on my best wishes to Siôn and all those who are campaigning for his release. He deserves nothing more than the freedom to re start his life and to be vindicated .

KS

It is apalling to think that an innocent man is still in prison. I really wish I could do something, other than reiterate that this man is innocent and should be released. Siôn should not have been jailed in the first place, should not be in jail now, and please God soon he will not be in jail .

JF

.. after following the case very closely back in 1997 I was very surprised and shocked at the verdict as I always believed in Siôn 's innocence right from the very start.

Reading an article in the Daily Mail a few weeks back reconfirmed my original thoughts, and that Siôn was indeed innocent of this terrible crime.

I just hope that after the result of this appeal hearing justice will be done and he will be finally vindicated.

I shall continue to follow the case closely.

My thoughts are with you.

CH

I remember this case only from the BBC News as I lived in Northern Ireland when it happened. I am now living in Sacramento, California and work as a Baptist pastor.

... the conviction of Mr Jenkins is at the very least unsafe, although I would venture to say that I am convinced of his innocence as I weigh up the testimonies and evidence and case. I have no vested interest apart from seeing justice done and truth upheld.

I am seriously disturbed by the poor way this case has been conducted. It gives me no pleasure to see our British legal system called into question by this case. Sadly it is a further reminder of man's fallibility.

I am a believer in the death penalty but recognize that this case throws up serious issues relating to it.

I hope that Mr Jenkins case is well represented and heard at his appeal and will be praying that God will vindicate the truth in this whole sorry affair.

RB

I have just visited your website, and wanted to send my support for your campaign.

I have never believed Siôn to be guilty of the murder of his stepdaughter, and find the evidence that convicted him to be terribly flawed.

There are always those with an unhealthy and vindictive interest in seeing an innocent man imprisoned for such a dreadful crime, and the police have shown that they are unable and unwilling to consider that they are wrong. It is appalling to realise that someone can be convicted wrongly, simply because of someone's promotion prospects, or because of flawed public opinion, manipulated by the media ..... .

I do wish Siôn and his team every success with this appeal - I hope that justice is at last done.

AB

As always, I'll be praying for Siôn and especially for our Justice system that now, at last, Siôn will be set free .

PM

I just wanted to wish Siôn and those of you supporting his appeal the very best of luck. I've always doubted the soundness of his conviction, and hopefully this travesty will be over any day now. I'm watching with interest and will be keeping my fingers crossed.

LG

Please convey my good wishes to Siôn Jenkins on his appeal. I have always believed him to be innocent, and the evidence against him deeply flawed. I hope justice will really be done at his appeal. I live in Sussex and am aware of the failings of this police force.

AD

There was always something that didn't seem right about this case. It's one I've regularly brought up with friends, saying I felt he was innocent.

Great web site, well done.

Keeping him in our prayers

KQ

I have followed the case of Siôn Jenkins and have always been convinced of his innocence. The evidence against him has, frankly, been ridiculous.

I was filling up at a garage in Cornwall when the news of the conviction came through. I knew instantly that corrupt forces had been at work.

I hope that he will soon be free.

SD

I have followed this case since the beginning and felt very strongly at the time and since that a huge miscarriage of justice was carried out.

My best wishes for a successful outcome to the present appeal

RH

I would like to add my name and address to your campaign to free Siôn Jenkins.

I always thought from day 1 he was innocent, and was in Australia on the day he was convicted. I simply could not believe it.

Let's hope this appeal will finally free an innocent man.

DB

I am an ex student of Siôn Jenkins. He was my English teacher at McEntee school. I just want him to know that my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Not Guilty!

MS

Just want to say good luck with the current appeal.

KK

My thoughts and prayers are much with you this week, especially today as Siôn 's appeal starts. May he be calm and may the truth prevail...

This case has been on my mind for the last 7 years, and this opportunity is what we have all be waiting for.

DM

I can't believe someone can be convicted and sentenced to life on such flimsy evidence.Thank god there is no longer a death penalty.

MR

Good luck in the appeal, I always remember from the reports of the trial that I found the evidence flimsy.

KF

I have only known about this case from reading your web site and obviously the publicity during the trial.I have no connection with Siôn Jenkins ,other than wishing an innocent man go free.

Sometimes there are reasons for believing people are innocent but one does not know why. Perhaps it is just a gut feeling ,but I firmly believe that in this case this man is innocent. I can only hope his appeal is successful and wish him good luck.

JS

Have always believed Mr. Jenkins to be innocent. Please convey my best wishes.

Good luck with the campaign.

RT

I am aware and seriously concerned at the ability of the media, politicians and legal establishment to accept investigations by the Police as fully conclusive. The simple facts are the Police make many errors of judgement and outright mistakes due in part because of their lack of experience in other walks of life.

Their answer to this is to employ "expert" witnesses who, due to their professional status, are ill equipped to admit possible inconsistencies in their evidence under cross examination.This trait is extremely common especially in people of high academic standing for whom to lose face would be unthinkable. Unfortunately Judges and juries invariably accept their word.

GF

I just wanted to send a message of support for your campaign. I have no direct interest in this case - only the interest of a citizen alarmed by glaring miscarriages of justice. I've been haunted by Mr Jenkins' case ever since reading accounts of the trial in the press and wondering how on earth the case had ever been allowed to reach a court. When I read of the guilty verdict I was flabbergasted. I was disgusted to hear then that his appeal had been rejected, essentially because of the view that judges could do no wrong.

Recent news reports about the cot-death case reviews made me think again of Mr Jenkins' case and I decided to search the internet to see what progress there might be on his case.

I wish your campaign and Mr Jenkins luck; I hope he realises that there are ordinary members of the public who regard his conviction as an outrage.

NW

I have studied the case and feel a great injustice has occurred which needs resolving. I don't have any particular skill or knowledge or involvement, I'd just like to lend any support I can.

NJ

I have visited the Siôn Jenkins site many times over the past few years and continue to feel immense sadness for his situation.

I am simply a wife and mother with no special expertise in the field of criminolgy or the criminal justice system but I have felt completely uneasy about the guilty verdict from the moment I heard it.

MB

I am sickened by the treatment of Siôn who I do not know. One must support this man until he has his day in court for his appeal. I am truly distressed after reading the information on the website.

Keep on keeping on for Siôn ...

We are about 3 hours from Sydney and live in the Hunter Valley which is the wine growing area of New South Wales - will put aside a couple of good reds for Siôn to have when the day of celebration comes along. In the meantime I will remember him in my prayers and look forward to the good news.

MU

I'm a consultant anaesthetist, and have an interest in true crime, having written a book on the subject. I also have an interest in miscarriages of justice, and attended the successful appeal of the Birminghan Six. I attend trials when I can, and went to Lewes for part of the Sarah Payne trial and the Old Bailey for the 'Soham' trial.

The case of Siôn Jenkins worried me from the start. The sheer implausability of the scenario suggested by the prosecution alone was one thing.

A week after the verdict, something very strange happened. Someone wrote an article in 'The Mail ' entitled 'Why I believe Sion Jenkins is innocent'. As far as I'm aware, an article such as this, so soon after the verdict is unprecedented, and it certainly made me think.

I sincerely hope that he gets justice at the conclusion of his next appeal.

KW

It seems to me that the most convincing evidence of innocence is the absence of blood on Siôn , which seems beyond all belief in the circumstances. The timeframe also seems fairly watertight and hopelessly insufficient, coupled with the immediate presence of the children. Likewise the less than direct access to the weapon, if he went through the house.

My professional interest is that I teach short university units at the interface between science and law, and arbitrate or analyse evidence in the biomedical science area. So for general intellectual stimulation I have read your site in detail several times as the case is intriguing.

There are of course numerous other minute points of interest in addition to the glaringly obvious ones I have felt moved to comment on.

At first glance, the microscopic blood seems more like proof of innocence than proof of guilt.

CT

I write to wish you every success in the forth-coming appeal for the conviction of Siôn Jenkins.

I was never fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the case of Mr Jenkins, and having read the evidence , I would agree that his conviction is unsafe.

As a long-standing A and E nurse, I frequently arrive home to find myself sprayed with multiple drops of blood from patients who have been victims of injury. What the forensic scientist would make of my uniform, I shudder to think.

My thoughts are with you all.

LD

The conviction of Siôn Jenkins is wrong.

IA

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The Appeal succeeds: who cares today?

The Appeal succeeds: who cares today?

Please add my name for the support of Siôn Jenkins.

His conviction has always deeply disturbed our family and feel that we must register this 'officially' in some way. We wish him to be freed on bail and hope that this indeed will happen.

Please let me know if there is anything further we can do.Although we are unknown to Siôn, if the occasion arises please convey our sincere wishes to him and that we truly believe in his innocence.

MA

I just wanted to write to say how pleased I was at the recent news of Mr Jenkins retrial. I have never been convinced of his guilt.

The original reporting of the case shows there were inconsistencies and problems with the prosecution case. As the facts come out (more and more as time goes on), I think it is obvious to everyone, (uncomfortably so for the police) that he is clearly innocent. A very great injustice has been done.

I am sure he will be found not guilty in the near future.

Please pass on my best wishes.C

AK

Well done to you all. I can't tell you how pleased I am that at last things are moving forward and that hopefully this dreadful injustice and nightmare will soon be at an end.

I am shocked that Siôn is still in custody ...

IG

I retired from the Police Service in 2000, after 24 yrs service. I have always held an interest in crime generally,and particularly 'miscarriages of justice'. Unfortunately, my years within the Police have turned me into somewhat of cynic, and I am generally quite dismissive of people who claim to have been the victim of a miscarriage.

However, I have read numerous articles both in newspapers and on the internet regarding the case of Siôn Jenkins. I have tried to be objective and dispassionate, and to analyse the available material logically.

My own conclusions are that this man should not be in prison.

..I do wish you, your campaign team and Siôn Jenkins all the best for the future,and I am sure justice will prevail.

PRC

I find the continuing emphasis on the origin of the blood spatters bewildering when the layman is asking, 'How come that's all there was?'

I commend Siôn's dignity, and that of his parents, and trust the new jury will be aware of the enormity of their role and reach a just conclusion.

FM

I cannot believe how nervous I was waiting for the verdict this morning, and can only begin to imagine what Siôn must have been going through. I have to say that I have been impressed with the dignity that he has shown over the past two weeks which must have been such a trying time for him.

Please pass on my best wishes, and let him know that I am proud to campaign for someone as dignified as he has been. My prayers are for bail, for a short re-trial and of course, release.

DM

It's with great happiness that I note the progress made this morning in Siôn's search for justice, with the announcement of his retrial. I attended a day of the appeal, and now join with other supporters in looking forward to the day when Siôn 's name is cleared for good.

RP

I hope Siôn Jenkins is freed.If justice is done and he is freed following the retrial, I just hope he is able to build his life back up again. Not only did he bear the pain of losing his daughter, he has also lost 6 years of his life and was unable to grieve in the way any person who has lost a loved one should.

Good luck for your future Siôn , the justice system is forever in debt to you. My heart and prayers are with you for your retrial.

JA

I am sure Siôn would like to know that so many of us in Wales believe in his innocence. Also to congratulate him on his second appeal and his forth coming retrial.

We will be following his progress all the way to his date of release.

Congratulations to him and his dedicated team.

DT

I've been unable to sleep or eat much this week, I've kept my fingers crossed for Siôn ; hoping and praying that the appeal would be granted and that he would be free. I know a re-trial is a better outcome than the appeal being dismissed but it is so unfair. I've been trying to imagine Siôn 's feelings this week, but it's impossible. I just can't imagine how horrible it would be to be in his shoes. I have no faith left in the British Justice System.

CG

I just had to write and say how devastated I am to hear the news that Siôn will have to go through the agony of a retrial. I cried when I heard the result.

JB

I've been watching the news all morning. Congratulations on getting the conviction quashed.Let's hope that they let him out on bail in the near future. My thoughts are with you and Mr Jenkins, and I really do wish him well for the future.W ill be keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that this jury will make the right decision.

KW

Congratulations to Siôn and to all concerned for winning the right to a re-trial. Sure that it's a big step on the way to vindication.

JH

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Who is Siôn Jenkins?

Who is Siôn Jenkins?

I have recently been made aware of this site by a friend who is in contact with you. I'm a firm believer in Siôn's innocence. I was a senior pupil at William Parker when Siôn was head Master elect, so I had close contact with him. From the minute he was arrested I felt hugely upset for him, as I felt that he had been completely "stitched up" purely because the police needed an arrest.

I even saw Siôn on the day of the murder at around the time it took place. This sighting was reported to the police but I have no idea if it was taken into account. I do wonder if it was simply ignored as it might ruin their case??

Please keep up the good work.

Former Student

I knew Billie Jo, I also knew Siôn Jenkins, as he was my deputy head teacher, I was often at his office for getting thrown out of Latin. I used to hate him, as every kid used to hate every teacher, but given the choice, that would be the teacher I would have preferred to be sent to, he was very approachable and most of all he was fair.

I was the subject of a lot of bullying at school, which he sorted out. I am now successful in my own business.

I have always believed Mr Jenkins is innocent, and I happen to know a large proportion of the police that were investigating Billie Jo's murder believe the same. I was very curious at the time, and would ask the opinions of officers and listen to the gossip. I remember one police officer saying to me " DCI Payne is either promoted or sacked. There has to be a conviction on this one with the whole country watching .."

Former Student

I have been reading your website with some interest. I was taught by Siôn Jenkins (he was deputy head while I was at William Parker and also taught me A-level English).

In my view he was a great teacher and, even though he was subjected daily to the boisterous behaviour of a school full of teenage boys, I never saw him lose his temper once.

I went on to become a journalist and editor - thanks partly to the excellent schooling that Mr Jenkins and his colleagues provided. I am appalled on an almost daily basis at the way some in our industry - particularly those working for national tabloids - ignore all the basic contempt of court laws and presumptions of innocence and sensationalise cases such as this. I am certain that in the Jenkins case it has seen an innocent man convicted.

None of this will help your campaign particularly - I just wanted to let you know that there are journalists out there who take law and the process of justice seriously. We all have to do things we don't enjoy or are uncomfortable with, but many of us have the principles and the courage to recognise our responsibilities.

Wishing you and Mr Jenkins all the best with your campaigning

Former student.

My fondest memories of Siôn come from when I first met him as my GCSE English teacher when I was in Year 10 at school. Up until that point I had never been much use when it came to English but suddenly, from the interesting way Siôn delivered it, English became very interesting. In fact I will never forget the day, as we were all preparing for our final English GCSE exams, the day Siôn came into the classroom and stood there and said "...I am telling you all now, no one is going to fail this exam." I had never heard any teacher say anything as bold as that before, but lo and behold we all passed our English GCSE, (even a couple of lads who to this day owe a great deal to Siôn and his positive attitude towards every individual pupils that had the privilege of working with him).

Away from the classroom Siôn always made time to come and watch the School football teams in action. He would always show great interest as to when our games were, and come along to support us all. We all knew he was genuinely interested as to how we were getting on, and would always find time in passing to catch up on the latest results and generally how everyone was getting on. On a personal note I will never be able to repay to a teacher and friend like Siôn the debt both I and the rest of his students at William Parker owe him for the positions we find ourselves in today. When I graduate next year and begin my teaching career I will hope to show all the positive traits and qualities that Siôn showed to me during my time of knowing him.

He treated me as an individual person and gave me so much confidence to fulfil my dream of becoming a teacher that I will always be grateful to him.

Former student

I knew Siôn and his family well in East London. My wife worked with Billie-Jo and I've written to Siôn in prison. Please pass on my best wishes to Siôn . Just today I was talking to a friend about the case and as always, asked them to trust my judgement in believing in Siôn 's innocence. I continue to pray for Siôn and that CFJ will continue to support him, and that truth will overcome. Thank you for all the work you do.

Friend

I was with Siôn during his trial, and was with him the day his was convicted of something which, after speaking with him, I believe he did not commit. I could not believe the reaction of the public gallery - the noise was deafening and sick at the same time.

I wish Siôn luck in his next appeal.

Acquaintance

I first met Siôn in a House group meeting after he was on bail. On first meeting him I was not told of his background, and to me he was just another member of the group. He was pleasant and entered into the discussions along with everyone else, who were seeking to know more of God's word. He was never forceful in his arguments nor did he stand out in any way - he was just one of the group.

In later weeks when I was told of what had happened and what he was charged with, I was completely shocked, as I am a good judge of character. I had no problem with Siôn accepting him as he was, a decent, good natured person, who accepted me as a newcomer to the group, helping me to get settled into it.

Friend of Siôn

I met Siôn when he spent a year in Aberystwyth on bail awaiting trial. Before God he prayed that the truth should come out. I have waited for the legal system to allow the evidence to be brought forward. The missing footprints, the plastic up the nose, the appeal judge with links to his school , and his childrens' evidence .. these are some of the things that should have brought out the truth. The legal system has failed to bring out that truth. If this situation continues we must all sadly say that our system of justice is biased.

An observer

Over the last seven years I have done more than scratch the surface with this man. I have discovered his voracious appetite for books, reading widely and deeply in philosophy, art, current affairs and theology. He has an acute mind with a capacity for analysis and insight as well as recall of the material he has digested which is very impressive indeed. Because of the extent and depth of his reading he makes a good conversationalist and an excellent companion.

He has turned his literary skills to good use and helps some of his fellow prisoners to read and write, as well as writing some letters and helping them with other important documents. This together with offering himself as a Samaritan within the prison, and his involvement with the Christian chaplaincy work is an indication of the practical outworking of his faith.

It is this faith which has been the bedrock of his constancy over these last years. His faith came alive when he was in his early twenties and it has not wavered despite the traumas and injustices of recent years.

He has a well refined sense of humour which extends to the ability to laugh at himself, and even wryly to laugh about his current personal circumstances at times. Always courteous, always ready to make the effort, always prepared to take the Christian way. I have been deeply impressed by , and the more I have got to know him the more I am convinved of his integrity and his innocence.

A friend of 7 years standing.

We remember Siôn with great fondness and continue to be outraged at the lack of justice he has received. We can still picture him with his family - the girls he loved so dearly and who loved him in return. He liked nothing better than to spend time with them and always spoke of them with such pride and joy. It is unimaginable to think of him, so cruelly separated from them. He has been denied the rights that others take for granted: the right to watch their development into young women; the right to have a normal family life; the right to celebrate special occasions; the right to support and guide them in their decisions. The list is endless.

Siôn has suffered enough. We wish him well in his continued fight for freedom.

Friends of Siôn

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The role of Lois Jenkins

The role of Lois Jenkins

Why testify now?

At the time of the trial six years ago, Lois Jenkins did not appear as a witness.

At the time of the first appeal four and a half years ago she remained equally silent.

What makes this time different ?

Why put a vulnerable child at risk?

Lois Jenkins - herself a social worker - apparently failed to alert Social Services to what she claimed, after the verdict , had been years of her husband's violence.

If those claims of violence had any substance, how could she - with her professional knowledge and background - have introduced a vulnerable child into an abusive household?

Does this really have the ring of truth?

What was the role of Social Services?

This tragic case involved the death of a child in care. Her death, was, evidently, at the hands of someone into whose care Social Services had placed her.

Did the system really fail to protect Billie-Jo Jenkins...?

Is it seriously being suggested that the social workers involved would have failed over five years to recognise the risks presented by this placement?

What do the records over these years show?

What about their routine reviews?

What did the inquiry reveal?

There are two possibilities:

  1. Social Services failed abysmally to protect a child at risk, a failure which should have prompted public scrutiny and still demands accountability.
  2. Social Services were unfairly implicated in a misrepresentation of the truth in order to convict Siôn Jenkins.

Only one can be true

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The Wife's Story

The Wife's Story

The context

The Sunday Times of 9 February 2003 makes the announcement 'Lois Jenkins breaks her silence about the day that shattered her family. '

Six years after the murder the ex - wife of Siôn Jenkins has written a meandering exploration of the past and the present. She outlines a very personal agenda, and makes a series of bitter accusations, aimed at both her former husband and the legal system.

Lois Jenkins now lives abroad with a new partner and their child, moving on, as she says, with a new life which includes the four daughters of her marriage to Siôn Jenkins. It appears, however, that even at a great distance from the scene of events six years ago, anonymity still evades her and she is 'regularly' pursued by the media.

In spite of deciding that she would not speak publicly, and even though she states that she has not changed her view on speaking publicly, she has somehow found it in herself to articulate a stream of opinion and insinuation from which fact is conspicuously absent .

By using a national newspaper to make her comments, Lois Jenkins effectively chooses to relinquish the privacy she previously sought to protect.

Her motives for writing the piece invite scrutiny : what incentive would there be for an item like this? As the Sunday Times points out in the short article advertising her disclosures, the timing is not accidental.

The feature occupies an entire page. Its layout is instructive. There is a huge three word headline. A large photograph of Billie-Jo provides the dominant central image. A smaller photo of Lois Jenkins has the caption 'grief stricken '. At the bottom of the page is a photo of Siôn Jenkins, his hand outstretched, identified as 'The control freak who was convicted of murder.' Alongside the photograph of him is a rerun of coverage at the time of the murder which includes - with no substantiation - the glib assertion that he was 'prone to violent outbursts of temper against his wife and others.' The rest of this section consists of the six year old opinions of Detective Superintendent Jeremy Paine [ who rose to media fame on the wings of this case and is now a BBC Crimewatch presenter ] , those of an anonymous detective, and Mr Justice Gage's comments at the original trial.

The words of Lois Jenkins are set around these visual props with their insidious associations. Her message is confused and lacks focus. At one moment she evokes anodyne images of the past ; at the next she makes strangely dismissive generalisations : ' To me it is tragic that we are so concerned to pursue justice to the end ..'

Although Siôn Jenkins is the object of her attack, she never mentions him by name, referring to him as 'their father' or 'the person with whom I spent 14 years of married life'. Such explicit and deliberate distancing communicates a great deal.

Innuendo is at the heart of her comments ; the suggestive aura of domestic violence surrounds the carefully created self -portrait. That hint is false . It will be challenged.

She claims to be 'privy to much information about the events of February 15th 1997', implying that she knows things others can only imagine. The truth is that she was by no means the only person privy to those events, but ever since then, she has made strenuous efforts to resist any alternative version being put forward.

By speaking out so publicly in a national newspaper Lois Jenkins lays herself and her opinions open to challenge. Her behaviour faces scrutiny of a kind she has not so far had to encounter ; her insinuations will be confronted.

Media smears may have damaged Siôn Jenkins six years ago. Today the lies have all been told ; he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Wife's story: The content.

The Sunday Times identifies the main purpose of the article as an attack by Lois Jenkins on what she refers to as 'the justice industry'. Since the paper was the commissioning agent for the feature, the reader must be guided by its definition.

Lois Jenkins begins with a reference to six years of being regularly pursued by 'the media in general' to talk, among other things, about events before the murder. She attributes their persistence to what she describes as her desire to maintain a degree of integrity. She has evidently written a book and decided not to publish it, but paradoxically, still feels the need to mention its existence.

She stresses the moral purpose for going into print on this occasion, "to allow lessons to be learnt and to help those trying to cope with similar experiences."

She then changes to narrative mode, and outlines some of the events on the day of the murder. She tells the reader that the day began with " the usual bustle of a busy family, the organised chaos I so love.." She creates an atmosphere of normality and happiness. The same atmosphere re-emerges in the final section of the article, in which she details Billie's rapid progress in many areas during her time with the family. There are references to six years of travelling , camping, visiting places and people . There were cycle rides, horse riding, trips to London with friends - in fact a portrait of a rather idyllic family life in what she calls 'an imposing Victorian house'. There is no indication of the dark atmosphere she later evokes in the wake of the murder.

In the episode where she describes being called back home that afternoon to discover what had happened, she includes a remarkable amount of detail, even down to a memory from her days as a student nurse. She paints an elaborate picture of her own feelings in those moments, and the reactions of her daughters on being told of Billie's death.

In striking contrast , she then glosses over a prolonged period of time in two starkly chilling sentences : "Just over a year later their father was convicted of Billie -Jo's murder. Eighteen months later he lost an appeal." The fact that "he continues to proclaim his innocence" is made to sound like an aberration by her next comment : " The girls and I have coped."

This complete dismissal of a complex sequence of contentious happenings is startling. Lois Jenkins makes absolutely no acknowledgement of the time between the murder and Siôn Jenkins' conviction sixteenth months later. It is, of course, the right of an author, when reconstructing events, to select particular details and omit others. However, the exclusion of these crucial months, like her exclusion of Siôn Jenkins' name in her writing, makes an eloquent statement. It is as if the period of the investigation leading up to the trial was an irrelevance, and yet that time was full of events which had profound consequences both for the family and the outcome of the trial.

From the bald assertion of her husband's guilt, Lois Jenkins makes a sudden leap to unexplained hints. " Why didn't I realise ?" she asks, tantalising the reader into asking 'realise what?' Anticipating the question , Lois Jenkins refers, in a burst of self- deprecation, to her own "naivety and trusting nature." She immediately goes on to mention her husband's violent outbursts, making an association without any connecting fact.

These 'outbursts' have received no mention until now ; there has been no evidence that they ever took place. Yet they suddenly become accepted as fact. This is justified by the moral stance she claims for herself,"to protect others from knowing my private reality." Her disparaging comment about his 'pillar of the community presentation' is directly lifted from the most sensational tabloid reporting immediately after the conviction. She does not make a single specific allegation against Siôn Jenkins. Instead, through innuendo, she manufactures a menacing fantasy for the reader.

She states: " most of the time we functioned well as a family." That is probably true of a large number of families. The perfect family exists only in the imagination. Marriages go through difficulties of various kinds. She continues : "the children were great, we were gregarious and popular." Children do not thrive in a deeply unhappy home:all the evidence points to a lively, well organised family, engaging in a variety of activities.

Yet according to Lois Jenkins even though she herself describes the family as 'strong and stable' she now knows that this was not enough. What does she mean by this? It is as if she is reconstructing the past to force it into a particular relationship to the present.

The comment "..domestic violence can never be excused or tolerated " is true, and certainly suggestive : but no fact is given to substantiate the insinuation that she was a victim of domestic violence. Generalisation is used to imply fact. "Just because you present well as a family, work hard and are liked, it is wrong to assume you need to accept bullying or abuse in private, or that it will stop at you." Lois Jenkins' manipulative language is deliberately damaging.

Without explanation she states:" It was wrong of me to believe that such outbursts would not start again." Her reference to 'outbursts' is given no context, but the reader is presented with the unsupported assumption that outbursts must have happened . From here she moves on to claim that the most disturbing fact she was faced with was that her husband had " fabricated his past." The falsified CV would, certainly, be judged by many as inexcusable; for Lois Jenkins it apparently confirmed that her husband was guilty of murder. This discovery meant " my many niggling doubts [about what?] and fears of the of the past [ which fears?] began to fall into place."

Although she says that the family has been " stalked, pestered and pursued since 1997 " she also feels that " life is good now, calm .." . Why, then, has she invested so much energy in reawakening painful memories?.

What exactly does she want to achieve?

Her strident attack on what she denounces as the "justice industry " strikes a strangely dissonant note. However, as the Sunday Times itself emphasises, this is the core of the article, and provides the real focus. Such savage criticism of the right of appeal in the legal system is disturbing . Its implications are sinister. The fact that capital punishment no longer exists is something to be thankful for.

A major item like this in a national newspaper is the product of considerable negotiation and planning. Its purpose and timing are carefully calculated. Under scrutiny, the text prompts many more questions than it answers.

Lois Jenkins' posture as the guardian of unspeakable secrets may seem unassailable. As she confidently says "others can only speculate ", and this is precisely what this piece invites the reader to do. Unless she can deliver some verifiable evidence, though, her claims are meaningless.

Some facts to consider:

  1. The Jenkins home in Hastings was always full of children and other families.
  2. There was always an au pair in the house.
  3. Lois Jenkins led the life of an independent working woman.
  4. Lois Jenkins worked for Social Services with its attendant ethical code.
  5. Lois Jenkins would have been professionally aware of the risks of bringing a vulnerable child who " had to cope with many difficulties unimaginable to most children her age " into an abusive household. If she is speaking the truth she was, according to her own account, prepared to do so.
  6. Siôn Jenkins was frequently the carer for the children while his wife went to work in London . She did not hesitate, expecting him to do his fair share of caring for the children.
  7. The children were outgoing and confident, often seen to be boisterous with their father, who had an easygoing, indulgent manner with them.
  8. Lois Jenkins is a volatile woman capable of confrontational behaviour.
  9. Lois Jenkins readily voiced irritation to others about her husband's vagueness and lack of practical skills.
  10. Lois Jenkins has strenuously fought against any attempt to question Siôn Jenkins' conviction:
    • She has sent angry messages to the campaign website
    • She has confronted people who she suspected of being sympathetic to his cause
    • She tried to prevent the screening of the 'Trial & Error' programme questioning the conviction. She even went to the press to express her views. She later complained about it - unsuccessfully - to the Broadcasting Standards Commission.
    • She did not attempt to block 'Trail of Guilt', a programme which presented the police case.

Lois Jenkins' version of the story is not the only one.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Timeline

Timeline

The following timeline emerges from the appeal judgement handed down on 21 December 1999 . The events detailed formed part of the substance of that first appeal, and are in the public domain.

Timeline:

15 Feb 1997
Billie-Jo Jenkins is murdered
16 Feb 1997
Annie and Lottie Jenkins interviewed by police on video
18 Feb 1997
PC Bruce, who attended the scene of the murder three days previously, makes his first notes about Siôn Jenkins'comments and behaviour immediately after the murder.
22 Feb 1997
Discovery of blood spattering on Siôn Jenkins' clothing
24 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins arrested and interviewed in presence of solicitor.
25 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins released on bail. Police decide to tell Lois Jenkins about blood spattering. Pocket book entry reads "Told them to feed into Mum."
26 Feb 1997
Police spend two hours convincing Lois Jenkins that her husband had murdered Billie-Jo.
3 Mar 1997

Peter Gaimster, a neighbour, tells police that on 25 Feb (a week previously) Annie had changed her account of events on the day of the murder.

Lois Jenkins tells police that Annie had volunteered more information

4 Mar 1997
Lois Jenkins gives further information to police about Annie's version of events.
7 Mar 1997
Lois Jenkins makes statement to police alleging violence by Siôn Jenkins.
13 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins rearrested and charged with deception.
14 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins charged with murder
17 Mar 1997
Police consult Dr. Bentovim, a consultant psychiatrist, and Mrs Bentovim, a social worker and family therapist. Advice given orally that Annie's thoughts had been reconstructed by her father and now need to be deconstructed.
20 Mar 1997
Police officers speak to all four daughters in the presence of Lois Jenkins, with her agreement. The family's social worker Ian Vinall, is not present. They tell the girls that:
  • there is strong evidence their father has murdered Billie-Jo
  • their father had lied about his qualifications to get his present job
  • their father was violent to their mother and to them.
21 Mar 1997
Bentovim report confirms verbal advice given previously.
17 Jul 1997
Lois Jenkins goes to police with more details of a conversation with Annie about events of 15 Feb.
27 Nov 1997
Lois Jenkins returns to police after committal heaing to report further discussions with Annie about events on 15 Feb.
22 Dec 1997
Lois Jenkins has conversation with a police officer about Lottie's recollections of 15 Feb.
--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Sunday Times Letter

Sunday Times Letter

The letter below was sent by the campaign steering group to the Sunday Times , following its publication early in February 2003 of an article written by by Lois Jenkins. The letter was not published.

February 2003

Dear Sir,

In the interests of balance, may we ask you to print this response to Remembering Billie-Jo by Lois Jenkins on page 3 of the 9 February 'Review' section .

Despite its title the purpose of the piece is unclear. It is a lengthy exploration of a personal agenda, from which a flawed and tortuous argument emerges.

You say that Lois Jenkins speaks out about 'the day that shattered her family'. In fact she speaks out about a great deal more, using the opportunity to make a number of hostile insinuations about Siôn Jenkins, her ex-husband, and openly attacking the work of the CCRC. Her motives, as well as her timing, invite scrutiny.

She deliberately seeks publicity while claiming revulsion at intrusive media attention. Six years after the murder her name has largely faded from public memory. She is free to get on with the new and better life she describes. Why has she chosen now to rake the embers of the past?

Billie has never been forgotten. Those who knew and loved her remember her daily. Their memories can only be sharpened by the sixth anniversary of her death.

Lois Jenkins offers no evidence to support her bitter comments about her former life ; instead she dangles dark hints to bait her readers' imagination. Her attack on what she calls the 'justice industry' is also perplexing. She implies that because Siôn Jenkins has lost one appeal it is perverse and time-wasting for him to pursue the matter. The case of Sally Clark, who also lost a first appeal, suggests otherwise.

Siôn Jenkins has always maintained his innocence ; the safety of his conviction remains in doubt. His own family and friends have always stood by him, and support him without reservation. They are joined by a wide variety of legal and scientific experts as well as hundreds of members of the public, united by a deep concern that a miscarriage of justice has taken place.

Like any other appellant, Siôn Jenkins is entitled to the impartial process of the legal system.

Billie is missed and remembered by many . When her life was brutally ended six years ago, a number of other lives were irreparably damaged. It should be remembered, with respect, that no one involved in this tragic situation has a monopoly on suffering.

Yours faithfully , etc.

We believe that the content of that letter remains valid, and the questions it raises are as pertinent today as they were one year ago. As the seventh anniversary of this tragedy approaches, we present it for consideration.

February 2004.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Milestones

Milestones

The price of maintaining innocence.

During 2002 Siôn Jenkins made an application to study for a diploma in Theology at St. John's College, Nottingham. This was blocked by the authorities at Wakefield prison because he continues to assert his innocence.

The principal of St. John's confirmed that a place would be available; funding for the course had been arranged by Canon Stuart Bell, the Aberystwyth clergyman who has actively supported Siôn Jenkins from the outset.

The only barrier was created by the Prison Service.

This campaign welcomed the fact that this unjust restriction was exposed in the national press, in The Sunday Telegraph of 29 September 2002. At the same time we totally rejected the loaded and misleading language of the headline, which opened: "Killer who will not confess..."

Siôn Jenkins is not a killer. He has always asserted his innocence and will continue to do so.

The Telegraph article gave the last word to a prison service spokesman who stated that if Jenkins had a grievance he should make a complaint. This outwardly reasonable position conflicted with the reality of the situation.

The prison's education department and chaplaincy did not oppose Siôn Jenkins' application. Yet a governor said to him that for as long as he refuses to admit guilt (and consequently does not take part in offence-focussed courses) he would not be permitted to apply for higher level courses. He was explicitly told that there was no point in appealing against the decision.

As Siôn Jenkins himself said at the time : "This can achieve nothing more than the perpetuation of injustice."

He duly lodged a complaint with the prison authorities. It was rejected.

On 3 November 2002 the item below - Playing by the Rules? - went online.

Playing by the rules?

The Parole Board for England and Wales makes the following statement :

" A myth has grown up that unless prisoners admit and express remorse for the crime that they have been sentenced for, they will not get parole. This is not true. It is important to get the facts right, not least for those in prison who do maintain their innocence and who may be unnecessarily affected by the myth...legal precedent has established that it would be unlawful for the Board to refuse parole solely on the grounds of denial of guilt or anything that flows from that (such as not being able to take part in offending behaviour programmes which focus on the crime committed.)"

This position contrasts worryingly with the line taken with Siôn Jenkins at Wakefield.

At a Sentence Planning and Review Board shortly before being refused permission to apply for the theology course, he was told that he would not progress through the system unless he did offence-focussed courses. Siôn Jenkins had earlier stated that he was willing to be assessed for any course provided that the prison psychology department acknowledged that he maintains his innocence. A prison psychologist present at the Board said that unless he took 'full responsibility for the index offence' (i.e. admitted guilt), he would not be considered for any courses. A very positive wing report about his work and behaviour evidently carried no weight.

There was an outcry about his treatment, with representations being made to the Governor of Wakefield Prison, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and the Home Secretary.

On 4 November 2002 Siôn Jenkins was told that he had, after all, been given permission to apply for the theology course previously denied him.

Siôn Jenkins was allowed to apply for the course in recognition of his peer support work in Wakefield , teaching literacy skills and supporting fellow prisoners with a variety of written tasks.

His efforts enable others to develop their potential and prepare for a more hopeful future.

The parole Board states that it " is painfully conscious of the psychological pressure often experienced by those who maintain their innocence in prison."

It is a disgrace that Siôn Jenkins was so unfairly subjected to that pressure in Wakefield.

Details relating to this issue can be found on the Parole Board website.

The law book, the publishers, and the prison library.

Early in 2001, while studying in Wakefield prison library , an inmate came across a book called 'Criminal Law,' This A-level law textbook, published in 1999 by Hodder and Stoughton, mentioned Siôn Jenkins' case ; it was brought to his notice. The item included a newspaper report giving inaccurate details about his qualifications. Faced with the evidence of his M.Sc certificate, the publishers have offered to delete the reference in future reprintings or a new edition, and have apologised in writing. This is a significant retraction by a reputable company ; it serves as a reminder of the destructive impact of some of the media reporting at the time of Siôn Jenkins' conviction. The untruths are now being confronted. An interesting footnote : the prison authorities have removed the book from the shelves in Wakefield.

A question of basic human rights..

Immediately after his appeal hearing ended on 13 December 1999 Siôn Jenkins started the journey back to Wakefield. The journey lasted nearly eight hours. He was given a sandwich in the early afternoon. The prison van reached Leeds at 8pm. By that time Wakefield Prison was closed. Siôn Jenkins spent the night at a police station in Leeds, where the bed was a wooden bench with a single blanket. He was not given any food. He returned to Wakefield prison on Tuesday morning.

Siôn Jenkins was brought back to London from Wakefield on Monday 20 December - a journey which took most of the day. The following morning he was given no breakfast at Pentonville prison before being taken to the court. He was refused the use of his razor, and had to go into the court without shaving in spite of his requests to be able to do so.

After his brief court appearance he set off back to Wakefield. He was given a sandwich for the journey. By the time the prison van reached Wakefield the prison kitchens had closed, and he had nothing to eat until the next day.

Siôn Jenkins' experiences are in no way unique. Other prisoners are regularly suffering similar indignities. In a society which claims to be civilised and humane, how can treatment like this be justified?

A convenient scapegoat.

On 11 May 2001 the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer carried an article about the OFSTED report on William Parker School following a recent inspection. William Parker was the school where Siôn Jenkins was deputy head at the time of the murder.

The article highlighted the new leadership of the school. It brushed aside the fact that serious weaknesses had been identified in a) the delivery of core national curriculum subjects, b) staff recruitment and retention, and c) pupil behaviour.

It stated: ' many pupils continued to achieve, despite losing deputy head Siôn Jenkins when he was jailed for murdering his foster daughter Billie-Jo, and then a head teacher who took early retirement.'

To imply a link between current pupil performance and the events of four years ago was ludicrous. How could a single event or individual have such profound influence on educational attainment in a large comprehensive school? What possible evidence would support such a claim?

There is solid evidence, though, that Siôn Jenkins, as part of a team, made a significant contribution to the school's success during his years as deputy head there.

The school's OFSTED report of 1996 said: 'The governors have taken the decision to have only one deputy .. The deputy has brought new ideas to the running of the school and complements the Headteacher's leadership.' That leadership was described as 'caring and consultative'. The report explicitly made the point that students received a good education . It also stated ' The school is an orderly community and relationships are good.'

The overall management of the school was praised. It is undeniable that Siôn Jenkins' performance as deputy contributed towards that success. The governors of the school recognised his work and were willing to accept praise for what had been achieved.

To blame him now is disingenuous.

Some relevant facts:

  • Siôn Jenkins resigned from the school in March 1997, sixteen months before his conviction. The headteacher at the time remained in post until December 1997.
  • A senior management team remained in place, both during this period and the eighteen month leadership of the next headteacher.
  • Over all that time the management of the school was, and still is, the responsibility of the school governors.They are accountable for their own performance.

A paradox :

Justice and the law are not always synonymous.

The legal system works on the assumption that it is infalliable. A convicted prisoner who denies guilt is penalised for refusing to address his / her offending behaviour.

For someone who is, truly, innocent, where is justice to be found ?

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Supporters

Supporters

Supporters

The campaign came into existence shortly after Siôn Jenkins was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the summer of 1998.

Supporters of this campaign come from all over Great Britain, and from overseas.

Their numbers are continually growing. They are of all ages and from varied social backgrounds.

They are linked by a common concern that the truth about the case must be heard.

There have been regular mailings to members of the support group to inform them of developments and bring news of Siôn Jenkins' situation in prison. He has received hundreds of cards and letters of encouragement from people concerned with his welfare.

Mounting concern.

Since the campaign first started:

  • The support group has grown significantly each year and continues to attract new members.
  • Supporters have lobbied politicians, the Home Office and the office of the Lord Chief Justice.
  • Over two thousand signatures have been collected in support of Siôn Jenkins.
  • There is vastly increased public awareness of the unacceptable events connected with the arrest, charging and conviction of Siôn Jenkins.

Campaigners have kept up an unrelenting drive to inform and to question, so that the truth can be revealed.

There was a surge of new support group members after the attempt to take the case to the House of Lords was turned down and the conflict of interest involving one of the appeal judges became public knowledge. The unease felt by many has hardened into disbelief and serious concern, particularly after what emerged in the BBC's Trail of Guilt programme about police handling of this case.

  • Since the programme was screened a number of specialists have come forward to offer their expertise. Their concern was triggered by the implausible version of events presented in the programme.Their only interest is the truth.
  • Members of the general public were very disturbed by the undisclosed conflict of interest which has been exposed.They have written, and continue to write letters to their MPs
  • Concerns have been expressed to the Lord Chancellor's office about the judges' failure to disclose possible bias.

The case of Siôn Jenkins can only undermine public confidence in the workings of the criminal justice system.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Campaign News

Campaign News

The Current situation.

Siôn Jenkins' second appeal succeeded on 16 July 2004. A retrial has been ordered. An application for bail has been lodged : a decision will be given in two weeks' time, but he is currently remanded in custody.

His legal team is led by Clare Montgomery, QC. Neil O' May, of Bindmans, is his solicitor.

  • The case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in May 2003. A preliminary directions hearing took place on 23 January 2004.
  • A second directions hearing took place on 4 March 2004. At the hearing all the grounds for appeal put forward by the CCRC and Siôn Jenkins' defence team were accepted.
  • Two further directions hearings have taken place.

Review.

For seven years Siôn Jenkins has lived in the shadow of injustice. There has been no recognition of the grief and loss he has experienced ; instead, he has had to bear the stigma of being condemned as a murderer - a charge he has resolutely denied over this entire time.

A man was serving a life sentence for the murder of Billie - Jo Jenkins. On the face of it, society had the retribution it expects in these circumstances, and the demands of the legal system have been satisfied . That system is fallible, though, as demonstrated by two chilling facts:

  • Siôn Jenkins is innocent ; the wrong man is serving a life sentence.
  • The real murderer remains at large.

Complacency is no substitute for justice : we should all feel uneasy about what has been allowed to happen.

A lingering injustice.

Siôn Jenkins has always denied murdering Billie-Jo, his foster daughter.

Because he continued to assert his innocence after being sentenced to life imprisonment he was refused privileges which could make his existence easier.

The work of the CCRC indicates the law's acknowledgement that innocent people can be wrongly imprisoned. That acknowledgement is reinforced by the House of Lords ruling in July 1999 which allowed journalists to visit prisoners, recognising that a number of miscarriages of justice "have only been identified and corrected through painstaking investigation by journalists".[Lord Steyn]

Mounting concern.

Since the campaign first started:

  • The support group has grown significantly each year and continues to attract new members.
  • Supporters have lobbied politicians, the Home Office and the office of the Lord Chief Justice.
  • Over two thousand signatures have been collected in support of Siôn Jenkins.
  • There is vastly increased public awareness of the unacceptable events connected with the arrest, charging and conviction of Siôn Jenkins.

Campaigners have kept up an unrelenting drive to inform and to question, so that the truth can be revealed.

There was a surge of new support group members after the attempt to take the case to the House of Lords was turned down and the conflict of interest involving one of the appeal judges became public knowledge. The unease felt by many has hardened into disbelief and serious concern, particularly after what emerged in the BBC's Trail of Guilt programme about police handling of this case.

  • Since the programme was screened a number of specialists have come forward to offer their expertise. Their concern was triggered by the implausible version of events presented in the programme.Their only interest is the truth.
  • Members of the general public were very disturbed by the undisclosed conflict of interest which has been exposed.They have written, and continue to write letters to their MPs
  • Concerns have been expressed to the Lord Chancellor's office about the judges' failure to disclose possible bias.

The case of Siôn Jenkins can only undermine public confidence in the workings of the criminal justice system.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Media References

Media References

Media Treatment of the case

Newspaper coverage

Since the verdict, articles about the case have appeared in the following national media sources:

  • New Statesman - 10 July 1998
  • Daily Mail - 11 July 1998
  • New Statesman - 6 November 1998
  • Guardian - 5 April 1999
  • News of the World - 25 July 1999
  • Sunday Telegraph - 5 September 1999
  • Daily Mail - 11 September 1999
  • Daily Telegraph - 18 September 1999
  • The Express - 18 September 1999
  • Sunday Mirror - 19 September 1999
  • Daily Mail - 1 December 1999
  • Guardian - 1 December 1999
  • Daily Telegraph - 1 December 1999
  • The Express - 1 December 1999
  • The Independent - 1 December 1999
  • The Mirror - 1 December 1999
  • The Sun - 1 December 1999
  • The Times - 1 December 1999
  • The Express - 2 December 1999
  • The Mirror - 2 December 1999
  • Daily Mail - 10 December 1999
  • Daily Mail - 22 December 1999
  • Guardian - 22 December 1999
  • Daily Telegraph - 22 December 1999
  • The Express - 22 December 1999
  • The Independent - 22 December 1999
  • The Mirror - 22 December 1999
  • The Sun - 22 December 1999
  • The Times - 22 December 1999
  • The Times - 15 January 2000
  • Daily Telegraph - 15 January 2000
  • The Mirror - 15 January 2000
  • Daily Mail - 05 February 2000
  • The Times - 11 April 2000
  • The Mirror - 20 April 2000
  • The Sunday Telegraph - 2 July 2000
  • The Sun - 18 April 2001
  • The Daily Telegraph -19 April 2001
  • TheTimes - 19 April 2001
  • The Independent - 19 April 2001
  • The Guardian - 03 July 2001
  • Daily Mail - 04 July 2001
  • News of the World - 22 Sept 2002
  • The Sunday Telegraph - 29 Sept 2002
  • News of the World - 12 January 2003
  • The Sunday Times - 09 February 2003
  • Daily Mail - 12 February 2003
  • The Guardian - 13 May 2003
  • The Independent - 13 May 2003
  • The Times - 13 May 2003
  • The Daily Telegraph - 13 May 2003
  • Daily Mail - 13 May 2003
  • Daily Mirror - 13 May 2003
  • Daily Mail - 15 May 2003
  • BBC Online - 26 January 2004

  • BBC Online - 04 March 2004

  • The Independent - 05 March 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 05 March 2004
  • The Express - 05 March 2004
  • The Daily Mail - 05 March 2004
  • The Sun - 05 March 2004
  • The Independent - 06 March 2004
  • Daily Mail - 24 April 2004
  • The Sunday Times - 27 June 2004
  • The Mirror - 28 June 2004
  • The Guardian - 28 June 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 28 June 2004
  • The Independent - 28 June 2004
  • Evening Standard - 28 June 2004
  • The Mirror - 29 June 2004
  • The Guardian - 29 June 2004
  • The Daily Mail - 29 June 2004
  • The The Express - 29 June 2004
  • The Independent - 29 June 2004
  • The Guardian - 01 July 2004
  • The Independent - 01 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 01 July 2004
  • The Times - 01 July 2004
  • The Mirror - 01 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail -01 July 2004
  • The The Express -01 July 2004
  • The Sun - 01 July 2004
  • The Guardian - 02 July 2004
  • The Independent - 02 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 02 July 2004
  • The Times - 02 July 2004
  • The Mirror - 02 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail -03 July 2004
  • The The Express -03 July 2004
  • The Sun - 03 July 2004
  • The Independent - 03 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 03 July 2004
  • The Times - 03 July 2004
  • The SundayTimes - 04 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail -06 July 2004
  • The Times - 06 July 2004
  • The The Express -06 July 2004
  • The Sun - 06 July 2004
  • The Independent - 06 July 2004
  • The Guardian - 06 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 06 July 2004
  • The Mirror - 07 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 07 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail -07 July 2004
  • The Independent - 07 July 2004
  • The Guardian - 07 July 2004
  • The Times - 07 July 2004
  • The Sun - 07 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 08 July 2004
  • The Sun - 08 July 2004
  • The Mirror - 09 July 2004
  • The Sun - 09 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 13 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail - 13 July 2004
  • The Independent - 07 July 2004
  • The Guardian - 13 July 2004
  • The Times - 13 July 2004
  • The Sun - 13 July 2004
  • The The Express -14 July 2004
  • The Daily Telegraph - 17 July 2004
  • The Daily Mail - 17 July 2004
  • The Independent - 17 July 2004
  • The Guardian - 17 July 2004
  • The Times - 17 July 2004
  • The Sun - 17 July 2004
  • The The Express -17 July 2004
  • The Mirror - 17 July 2004
  • The Observer - 18 July 2004
  • The People - 18 July 2004
  • The News of the World - 18 July 2004
  • The Sunday Times - 18 July 2004

Television and radio coverage

  1. 15 September 1999: A Trial and Error TV programme about the case was shown on Channel 4 . Click here for further details. The 'New Evidence' link below leads to a detailed account of the programme's content. Since the screening of the programme, many messages of support have been sent to this website.

  2. 14 January 2000: Channel 4 news featured an account ot the revelation that Mr. Justice Penry Davey has continuing links with William Parker School. This connection was known by Mr. Justice Kennedy, but until it was raised by the defence in court, it was never declared.

  3. 18 January 2000 : Trail Of Guilt Special. BBC1This programme presented the police version of their efforts to prove that Siôn Jenkins committed the murder. The film was a blend of narrative and opinion, designed not to inform, but to entertain. Click here for further details.

  4. 20 April 2000: Following the Mirror article, HTV and Meridian ran features about the website. Although they inaccurately presented the website as being newly launched, a representative of the support group was interviewed and was able to explain its real purpose.

  5. 18 April 2001: The Sun chose to publish an 'exclusive' story, disgracefully breaching Siôn Jenkins' right to confidentiality, even though communications between prisoners and their legal representatives are absolutely confidential. The article was then scavenged by others, resulting in several misrepresentations elsewhere in the media.

  6. 26 June 2001: On the Ropes Radio 4 In an interview with John Humphries about his resignation Paul Whitehouse spoke of the case of Siôn Jenkins as an example of good police work by the Sussex force.

  7. 8 July 2001: Broadcasting House Radio 4 Bob Woffinden emphasised the fact that Siôn Jenkins' case is now generally accepted as a serious miscarriage of justice.

  8. 26 January 2004 - 15:16 : BBC Online inaccurately reported that Siôn Jenkins had been refused an application to appeal against his conviction.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> News of the World

News of the World

The News of the World and Siôn Jenkins

9th August 1998.

Shortly after his conviction in 1998 Siôn Jenkins was the victim of a completely untrue story bought by the News of the World from a criminal,Andrew Veysi, who, very briefly, shared his cell in Belmarsh Prison .

The paper alleged that Siôn Jenkins had made a 'full confession' to other inmates in Belmarsh prison. The item included confirmation by 'a top Hastings policeman' that statements had been made to Hastings police. In fact Veysi was well known in Belmarsh as an informer to prison staff . Due to be released shortly, he was 'owed' for his services . For no good reason he was suddenly moved into Siôn Jenkins' cell for the last few days of his stay. It was widely known among the inmates of Belmarsh that something connected with this high-profile case was being set up. During the brief time they shared the cell there was minimal contact between Veysi and SiônJenkins. Yet on his release Veysi sold his sick fiction to the News of the World.

Because he was in prison, recently convicted, there was no redress for Siôn Jenkins.The damaging lies lingered, unchallenged. It is well documented that in the period immediately after a conviction - especially when that conviction is dubious - the press can indulge in character assassination without risking legal action.

The News of the World has many qualities. Veracity is not among them.

22 September 2002.

The News of The World used Newham Social Services department to link the case of Siôn Jenkins with the verdict in the Ainlee Walker case.

The link is false. This website continues to invite Newham Social Services department to confirm that its care of Billie-Jo Jenkins was correct and responsible.

Siôn and Lois Jenkins were properly vetted by Newham . The placement of Billie-Jo was monitored regularly. Approximately every six weeks a social worker travelled down to Hastings to review the situation and speak to Billie-Jo. The visits were an opportunity for concerns to be identified ; the records show that Billie-Jo was thriving.

The paper cites Lois Jenkins' allegations of her husband's violence. Yet Lois Jenkins never gave evidence in court. The source and substance of her allegations have never been verified.

After Siôn Jenkins was found guilty of murder her claims were among many sensational smears published . Post-trial innuendo is a recognised measure of the weakness of a verdict . It also ensures that any future appeal is undermined.

January 2003 .

In a misleading feature, deliberately placed next to a major article about child abuse in the Catholic Church, the paper makes false allegations about the Church of England and a theology course Siôn Jenkins is applying for. Innuendo serves as a substitute for fact.

The paper appeared to have just caught up with a story which was news in November of the previous year. It referred to Jenkins boasting on 'his' website: in reality, those serving life sentences do not have internet access.

There was no boasting. The campaign did nothing but report a number of verifiable facts which are, simply, the truth.

May 2003

The News of the World was caught fabricating a high-profile story involving Victoria Beckham.The victims were wrongly charged with being potential kidnappers. Exonerated of the charges, at least two of them intend to sue the paper.

It was good to know that The News of the World might not get away with shamelessly spreading lies as easily as it did when Siôn Jenkins was a soft target immediately after his conviction.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Trial and Error Adjudication

Trial and Error Adjudication

BROADCASTING STANDARDS COMMISSION

Complaint about unjust or unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy by Ms Lois Jenkins on her own behalf, and on behalf of Annie Jenkins, Lottie Jenkins, Esther Jenkins Maya Jenkins (all minors), and on behalf of Mr Peter Gaimster, submitted on 25 January 2000, about Trial and Error:The Murder of Billie-Jo, broadcast by Channel Four on 15 September 1999.

Adjudication

Introduction

On 15 September 1999, Channel Four broadcast Trial and Error: The Murder of Billie-Jo, which examined Mr Sion Jenkins' conviction for his foster daughter's murder. Ms Lois Jenkins, Mr Jenkins' former wife. complained on her own behalf, and on behalfof Annie Jenkins, Lottie Jenkins, Esther Jenkins and Maya Jenkins (the children of the marriage), and on behalf of Mr Peter Gaimster, to the Broadcasting Standards Commission that they had been treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme, and that her privacy, and the children's privacy, had been unwarrantably infringed in the programme as broadcast.

The Complaint

Ms Jenkins complained of unjust or unfair treatment in that: a) Mr Jenkins' lying had been "belittled", and that Annie and Lottie had been burdened with the guilt ofnot having been able to help Mr Jenkins at trial; b) the programme had suggested that she had been influenced by the police into believing Mr Jenkins' guilt and that she had influenced and misled the children; c) the extent and nature of domestic violence that she had suffered had been misrepresented; and d) the programme had implied that Mr Gaimster had lied.

Ms Jenkins also complained that, by highlighting aspects "generating unnecessary media attention", the programme infringed her privacy, and the children's privacy.

Ms Jenkins said that the programme-makers had invited her to contribute to the programme. She said that, shortly after Billie-Jo's death, she had decided that it was inappropriate and disrespectful for her to have any dealings with the media and that she had grown to distrust any form of media coverage. For these reasons, she had initially declined to meet them. The programme-makers had given her only seven days' notice of the programme's transmission. She had then immediately contacted Channel Four, who agreed to postpone the transmission following lengthy discussions. She said that, in the course of the discussions, she had realised that Channel Four and the programme-makers had been completely misinformed about much of her family's situation, the details of Billie-Jo's death, the police investigation and the trial. Consequently, she and her father had met them in person to offer her account of the story. She said that she had gone to great lengths to explain her family's circumstances, particularly the difficulties faced by the children.

Channel Four said that they regretted any distress caused to Ms Jenkins and to the children, but the programme had been accurate and fair. It was in the public interest that potential miscarriages of justice should be thoroughly examined, and open to public scrutiny. They said that Trial and Error's painstaking journalism had been instrumental in bringing fresh evidence before the Court of Appeal in many cases, a significant number of which had resulted in wrongful convictions being overturned. They had been obliged to contact Billie-Jo's close family in order to obtain their views and perspectives and to enable a "right to reply" to be given if appropriate. Accordingly, the programme-makers had written to Ms Jenkins to inform her that the programme was being made and to invite her to meet them to discuss it. They said that their approaches had been sensitive, proper and well judged. Following various discussions and correspondence with solicitors, at Ms Jenkins' request they had postponed the programme's transmission to enable her to manage the children's viewing. Channel Four said that in the course of the discussions, it had been clear that Ms Jenkins and her parents had not wanted the programme to be shown.

Unfair/unjust treatment
a) Mr Jenkins' lying and the children being burdened with guilt

Ms Jenkins said that Mr Jenkins had lied extensively not only to his employers, but also to her and the family about his qualifications and experience. He had been charged with an offence of deception in this respect. Ms Jenkins said that, in the programme, a vicar and his wife, who had come to know Mr Jenkins, had falsely represented the extent of Mr Jenkins' lying. Ms Jenkins said that the programme had implied that Mr Jenkins " told an odd little lie", which was condoned, whereas he was a compulsive liar. Ms Jenkins said at a hearing held by the Commission that she had made it "quite clear" to the programme-makers that Mr Jenkins' had lied "about everything", and that it was not simply a question of his lying about his qualifications. She said at the hearing that the programme had not referred to the fact that his lying had had an impact on the family .

Channel Four said that the programme had responsibly and fully dealt with Mr Jenkins' deception charge. It had not shirked from the fact that Mr Jenkins had lied to his employers and to his family and had included documentary evidence of his lies. In this context, the vicar had been questioned about the effect of Mr Jenkins' lying. They said that, apart from the deception charge, Ms Jenkins had not provided any evidence to suggest that Mr Jenkins was a compulsive liar.

The programme explained how Annie and Lottie had not been called as "key defence witnesses" at Mr Jenkins' trial. It had stated that Annie's evidence to the police "if true - would make Sion Jenkins an innocent man" and that Lottie's evidence would "if true, prove her father innocent". Ms Jenkins said that these remarks placed an unbearable responsibility and burden on Annie and Lottie for not having been able to help Mr Jenkins at the trial. She had explained to the programme-makers that Mr Jenkins had spent many hours questioning Annie in an attempt to tell her what to say to the police. Annie had to live with this knowledge. Ms Jenkins said that the programme-makers had told her that they had seen Mr Jenkins' notes of the discussions between him and Annie.

Channel Four said at the hearing that everything Ms Jenkins had told the programme- makers was reflected in the police documents which had been disclosed to the defence by the prosecution and to which the programme-makers had been given unfettered access. They said that the programme had not tried to make Annie and Lottie feel responsible for Mr Jenkins' future. It had argued that their evidence should have been heard at trial. It had dispassionately explained that Annie and Lottie had given particular accounts of the day in question. The children's earliest accounts had broadly supported Mr Jenkins' account. Channel Four said at the hearing that although the programme-makers had seen Mr Jenkins' notes no evidence about his discussions with Annie had been allowed at trial, and there was no evidence of any alleged "coaching".

b) Ms Jenkins' beliefs and her influence on the children

Ms Jenkins said that she had explained to the programme-makers that, on the third day following Billie-Jo's death, she had become concerned that Mr Jenkins was guilty. She had explained that, despite her fears, she had not taken lightly any information that had been given to her by the police, or anyone else. When they had told her why Mr Jenkins had been arrested, she had continued to check and take time to absorb information properly. She said that the programme's use of interviews with Mr Jenkins' parents and a police notebook to accuse her of having been influenced by the police had been "slanderous","intentional" and "deceitful". She also said that the programme had wrongly suggested that she had misled the children, and the manner in which the programme had portrayed the children's care had been deliberately unfair and untrue.

Channel Four said that the programme had not suggested any impropriety on Ms Jenkins' part concerning her care of the children. The programme had simply stated that when the police had told her about the forensic evidence, Ms Jenkins told Lottie, and the police had spoken to both girls. They said that the programme had made it clear that it must have been enormously difficult for Ms Jenkins when the police had told her of their belief that Mr Jenkins was guilty. It had referred to evidence, which had been cited in the trial, that the police, by their own account, had fed information to her about Mr Jenkins' guilt. It had not been suggested that Ms Jenkins did not "have her own mind" on the matter. They said that it was Mr Jenkins' parents' personal view that Ms Jenkins had withdrawn support for their son as a result of what the police had told her. Mrs Jenkins had stated that, in her view, her then daughter-in- law had been "vulnerable". The personal views of Mr and Mrs Jenkins about Ms Jenkins' public shift to believing that Mr Jenkins was guilty had been balanced by the remark: "When the police told Lois [that Mr Jenkins must be guilty], any suspicions that may have already been forming in her mind must have been confirmed".

c) Domestic violence

Ms Jenkins said that the programme had "deliberately wrongly" portrayed Mr Jenkins' use of violence against her. She said that she had explained, in "great detail", to the programme-makers the exact nature of the difficulties that she had experienced in the marriage, which had also been included in her police statement.

Channel Four said that the programme had reflected Ms Jenkins' police statement. They said that Ms Jenkins had asked the programme-makers to keep confidential much of what she had told them and not to refer to it in the programme. It was very personal information. She had presented them with her account of Mr Jenkins' dangerous, violent and abusive behaviour. The programme had been refined to fairly reflect, insofar as it was possible to do so, Ms Jenkins' perspective. They said that the programme had presented a fair representation of both sides' positions. It had shown press headlines following Mr Jenkins' conviction, had referred to allegations of violence against Ms Jenkins, and had stated that she "said that after several happy years there had been times when his explosive anger had returned".

d) Mr Gaimster

The programme stated that "a family friend told the police that he'd seen Jenkins kick Billie-Jo during a holiday row, something Jenkins has consistently denied". Ms Jenkins said that the programme had implied that the family friend, Mr Peter Gaimster, had lied. Mr Gaimster said at the hearing that, in the context ofjuxtaposed statements in the programme, it had been implied that he had spoken to the press, and that his evidence to the police had been dealt with "dismissively" and "disparagingly".

Channlel Four said that the reference to Mr Gaimster, who had not been named, had featured as part of a sequence explaining that many damaging allegations about Mr Jenkins, some true, but some without any supporting evidence, had been published in the press. They said that Mr Gaimster had not been questioned about his allegation at Mr Jenkins' trial. They denied that there had been any suggestion or implication that Mr Gaimster had lied. Nonetheless, they said that Mr Gaimster's contradictory statements to the police had made him an unreliable witness. However, the programme had fairly represented his position. They went on to state that the programme-makers had informed Mr Gaimster about the programme, but he had not pursued the possibility of a meeting to discuss the matter.

Unwarranted infringement of Privacy

In the programme, a dramatised reconstruction portrayed Annie in a dispute with Billie-Jo. Ms Jenkins questioned the purpose of emphasising this, even if it had been true. She said that the programme's highlighting of certain aspects of family life on the day in question had amounted to an unwarranted infringement of privacy , particularly for Annie, but also for Lottie and the other children. She said at the hearing that she had told the programme-makers that Mr Jenkins would not have behaved in the manner that had been portrayed in the reconstruction. She said that she had only been aware of the use of child actors, not the substance of the reconstruction. She also said that in trying to make Annie and Lottie feel responsible for their father's future, the programme had been unjust and unfair, and had been an unwarranted infringement of their privacy.

Channel Four said that there had been no intention to influence Annie and Lottie. They said that the family had been fairly, accurately and sensitively depicted in the programme. At the hearing, they said that the reconstruction had closely followed what had been said at the trial, and had been necessary to explain a central part of the prosecution case, that Mr Jenkins had lost his temper following a dispute between the girls. They said that the programme had accurately portrayed the interaction between Annie and Billie-Jo prior to the murder. Annie and Lottie were Mr Jenkins' only two potential alibi witnesses. The children had been present when Billie-Jo's body had been found. It had not therefore been possible to divorce them from the situation. It was to have been a "central plank" of Mr Jenkins' (ultimately unsuccessful) appeal against conviction that their evidence should have been heard at the trial. They said that any infringement ofthe family's privacy, which was denied, had been outweighed by the public interest in investigating the case. However, the effect on the family had been kept to a minimum. Only the two children who had been present when Billie- Jo's body had been discovered, and whose names had already been in the public domain, had been named. Only one photograph of the children, in which their faces were blurred, had been shown. In contrast, all of the children's names and photographs of them had been widely published in the press after the murder.

Evidence considered bv the Commission

The Commission had before it a complaint form from Ms Jenkins and a written statement in response from Channel Four. It viewed the programme as broadcast and read a transcript. The Commission held a hearing attended by Ms Jenkins and Mr Gaimster and representatives of Channel Four.

The Commission's Findings

The Commission recognises both the validity of investigations into alleged miscarriages ofjustice and the distress to those centrally involved - in this case, Ms Jenkins and the four children of the marriage. It understands Ms Jenkins' concern about the prospect of "unnecessary media attention" on the family, and notes that this was a factor in her decision not to take up the programme-makers' invitation to meet during the period when the programme was being developed. It also notes that when Ms Jenkins was informed of the programme's intended transmission, Channel Four agreed to delay this to enable her to manage the children's viewing.

The Commission understands Ms Jenkins' points concerning the portrayal of her former husband's lying and its impact on the family. However, it is of the view that in the context of this particular case, the programme reasonably summarised the evidence. It therefore finds no unfairness to Ms Jenkins and the children in this regard.

The Commission notes that the fact that neither Annie nor Lottie had given evidence at Mr Jenkins' trial was to have been a "central plank" of his appeal and recognises the distress and difficulties caused to the children by this aspect of the programme. However, as they were Mr Jenkins' only possible alibi witnesses, the Commission finds that no unfairness arose from the use of the material about their statements to the police. As the programme-makers had no evidence of alleged "coaching", the Commission also finds no unfairness in the fact that the programme was silent as to what Mr Jenkins could have told the children to say to the police.

The Commission considers that the programme dealt with the police note which referred to feeding information into Ms Jenkins about Mr Jenkins' guilt, and Mr Jenkins' parents' views as to Ms Jenkins' behaviour and vulnerability, in a straightforward and factual manner. The Commission accepts that Ms Jenkins was at this time carefully reflecting on all the emerging information about the tragedy and it does not consider that the programme implied otherwise. It therefore finds no unfairness in this regard.

In relation to the programme's statements about Mr Jenkins' use of violence against Ms Jenkins, on the evidence available to the Commission, it is not satisfied that she was unfairly treated in this respect.

The Commission understands Mr Gaimster's concerns about his portrayal in the programme, but notes that his evidence was freely given to the police. It does not consider that the programme implied that he had lied. Nor does it consider that his allegation that Mr Jenkins had kicked Billie-Jo was unfairly juxtaposed with press reports. It therefore finds no unfairness to Mr Gaimster.

In the context of an investigation of an alleged miscarriage of justice, the Commission considers that it was legitimate for the programme to portray events that formed part of the prosecution case at Mr Jenkins' trial. The Commission appreciates the inevitable distress to Ms Jenkins and the children about the portrayal of some of these events, in particular the dramatised dispute between Annie and Billie-Jo, The Commission is concerned that when dramatising events involving children, broadcasters should be sensitive to the effect it will have on the children in question. On balance, the Commission finds that the infringement of the family's privacy in the programme was justified given the overriding public interest in the matters under investigation. It therefore finds that the family's privacy was not unwarrantably infringed in the programme as broadcast.

Accordingly, the complaint is not upheld.

21 June 2000

  • Ms Jane Leighton
  • Mr David Boulton
  • Ms Sioned Wyn Thomas
--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Trail of Guilt Adjudication

Trail of Guilt Adjudication

Siôn Jenkins' legal team submitted a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Commission following the screening of the BBC1's Trail of Guilt: Under Suspicion last year. A hearing was held at the end of November 2000. The adjudication has recently come into the public domain.

The BBC based its defence on the fact that Trail of Guilt was a narrative rather than investigative programme. It had given clear signals that it was 'a reconstruction' and 'a tale of forensic detection'. Journalistic rigour seems not to have been a priority. The object of the programme was simply to tell the story of 'how forensic science had resulted in prosecution', evidently without much concern for the manner or quality of the exercise.

This implies that objective treatment of the subject matter was irrelevant. The fact is that viewers are entitled to expect a more responsible journalistic stance from the BBC.

It is, too, a matter for regret that the Broadcasting Standards Commission refused to consider part of the evidence submitted because an internal deadline had passed.

This evidence concerned two facts which were inaccurately presented in the programme.

click here to see copy of certificate

These factual inaccuracies in the programme constituted unfairness to Siôn Jenkins, in addition to those examples explicitly recognised by the Commission.

The Commission's arbitrary regulations have, in effect, compounded the unfairness which was clearly demonstrated in Trail of Guilt.

BROADCASTING STANDARDS COMMISSION

Complaint about unjust or unfair treatment by Bindman & Partners (Solicitors) ("Bindmans") on behalf of Mr Siôn Jenkins, submitted on 30 May 2000, about Trail of Guilt: Under Suspicion, broadcast by BBC1 on 18 January 2000

Adjudication

1. Introduction

On 18 January 2000, BBC1 broadcast Trail of Guilt: Under Suspicion, which recounted the police investigation that led to the conviction of Mr Siôn Jenkins for the murder of his foster daughter, Billie-Jo Jenkins. Bindmans complained on behalf of Mr Jenkins to the Broadcasting Standards Commission that he had been treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme.

2. The Complaint

Bindmans complained that Mr Jenkins had been treated unjustly or unfairly in that the programme had presented a distorted analysis of the evidence and had ignored all of the work of Professor David Denison, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Physiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Royal Brompton Hospital, between trial and appeal.

Programme's approach

Bindmans said that the programme had presented Mr Jenkins' conviction as clear- cut. This approach had been "flagrantly dishonest, shocking, and unprecedented". They said that the programme had created the impression that Mr Jenkins had been found guilty "by both legal and journalistic routes" . Had the case been subject to a rigorous and objective journalistic investigation, it was inevitable that entirely different conclusions would have been reached.

At a hearing held by the Commission, Mr Neil O'May, from Bindmans. said that Mr Jenkins' case was exceptional in that the evidence turned on a new and developing science. There were conflicting views of the evidence, which had not been reflected in the programme. Viewers had been left with the general impression that the evidence against Mr Jenkins was overwhelming and that he had clearly murdered his foster daughter Billie-Jo.

The BBC said that Mr Jenkins' complaint was based on a false premise. The programme had not purported to investigate the crime. They said the programme had not been of an investigative genre: it had not set out to discover new evidence or question whether the ju-ry had reached the correct verdict. Rather, it had narrated how forensic science had resulted in prosecution. Professor Denison's work had therefore been outside its scope. In any event, they said that a 40-minute programme could not have covered all aspects of the evidence. The focus had been on how the prosecution's scientific evidence had been assembled.

Mr O'May said at the hearing that there was no objectlon to the programme's genre. However,journalistic programmes were required to be objective in the testing of evidence. There had been ten different forensic experts at trial, each with different views. The programme had selected one view.

The BBC said that Trail of Guilt's narrative approach was not only well established; there had also been clear signals in the programme that would have made its nature apparent. In the opening moments, a caption had described the programme as a "reconstruction",and the narrator had referred to a "tale of forensic detection".

The BBC said at the hearing that the jury had unanimously concluded, on the basis of the scientific evidence, that Mr Jenkins was guilty beyond reasonable doubt and the Court of Appeal had concluded that any doubt about the conviction "would not be a reasonable doubt". He had also been refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords. Nevertheless, the programme had stated with great clarity that Mr Jenkins protested his innocence and his defence was that blood specks on his clothing had been caused by Billie-Jo exhaling droplets through her nose as she had been dying. Viewers had been left in no doubt that the interpretation of the scientific evidence involved fine judgements and that the scientific evidence was not open-and-shut. However, as Mr Jenkins' conviction was a matter of fact,it had been entirely legitimate to present the prosecution evidence.

Bloodspots

The programme stated that there had been 48 tiny bloodspots in the upper chest area and spots on the lower right leg, mid-chest and both sleeves of MI Jenkins' clothing. Bindmans said that this had been "a disgraceful suppression of the facts". 72 blood spots had been found on his jacket; 48 in the upper chest area; 21 spots on the left sleeve; and only 3 on the right sleeve.

Bindmans said that the prosecution had performed an experiment of striking a pig's head to try to simulate the blood spray. The prosecution had found significant bloodstaining on the striking arm of the assailant and that there was always more bloodstaining on the striking than the non-striking arm. This had been ignored in the programme. They said that the withholding of this essential information had conveyed the incorrect impression that there had been significant and incriminating bloodstaining on Mr Jenkins' right sleeve, and had given an incorrect impression of the forensic evidence. They said that forensic scientists reported that in similar cases there was frequently bloodstaining on the back of the assailant's clothing. There had been none on Mr Jenkins' clothing, nor had there been any brain or body tissue. This, and the paucity of blood spots on his shoes, had also been suppressed.

The BBC said that the programme had clearly and accurately reflected the overall distribution of spots on Mr Jenkins' clothing. It had not suppressed or concealed vital facts. It had not suggested there had only been 48 spots on the entire jacket. Mr Adrian Wain of the Forensic Science Service had stated in the programme that approximately 48 tiny spots had been found in one area of the jacket - the upper chest area. That had led into a reconstruction sequence in which Mr W ain had referred to other spots on the jacket - on both sleeves and near the collar. He had also said that there were spots on Mr Jenkins' trousers. In the reconstruction, Mr Wain had given his view that the spots on the jacket, trousers and shoes had been what he would have expected to find with "impact-type spattering". Concerning the presence of more blood spots on the left sleeve, Mr Wain had told the programme-makers that he did not know whether Mr Jenkins was right-handed, left-handed or ambidextrous, but this was irrelevant because no-one knew how the weapon had been wielded.

The BBC said that the programme had not misrepresented the pig experiment. Mr Wain had found that larger blood drops flew away from the striker; the returning blood was a fine, aerosol-like spray, which had been the only type of spraying that had been found on Mr Jenkins' clothing. Mr Wain had told them that, from this type of experiment, scientists could not necessarily extrapolate how the spots would be distributed between different areas of clothing. Mr Wain had also told the programme-makers that cast-off blood was rarely found on an attacker's clothing. It had not therefore been necessary to include a discussion of this in the programme. Prosecution scientists had also said that brain and body tissue would not necessarily have been found on the assailant. They had not expected to find such tissue, so they had not been surprised to find none. Evidence of five spots of Billie.Jo's blood on Mr Jenkins' shoes had not been included in the programme, as this had not been regarded as significant.

Tent spike reconstruction

Bindmans said that there were also other significant respects in which the BBC had created a distorted impression of the case. A police character had stated "(Mr Jenkins) sees red, he picks up the nearest weapon to hand, the tent spike, which Annie found when she cleared out the utility room earlier in the day... " . Bindmans said at the hearing that viewers would have thought that this had been a recounting of the actual circumstances of the murder. They said that the tent spike had not been the nearest weapon to hand. At trial, the prosecution had never suggested that it had been. Bindmans said that had an intruder entered the house through the side passage, a tent peg would have been the first implement to hand. However, had Mr Jenkins attacked Billie-Jo from inside the house, then the tent peg would not have been the nearest weapon to hand. They said at the hearing that viewers would have thought that this had been a reconstruction of the actual events. The prosecution had not suggested that the tent spike had been the nearest weapon to hand.

The BBC said that Detective Superintendent Jeremy Paine had been portrayed as suggesting to Detective Sergeant Ann Capon a sequence of events that would explain how Mr Jenkins had come to hit Billie-Jo with the tent spike. They said that viewers would have understood from the dramatic context and the dialogue that the DS Paine character had not been presenting firm evidence, but had been working through a hypothetical and speculative scenario. Viewers would therefore have realised that his remark that the tent spike had been the "nearest weapon to hand" had only been the suggestion of a possibility. Even if the tent spike had not been the nearest weapon to hand, it had indisputably been the murder weapon.

999 reconstruction

Bindmans said that according to the programme, before calling 999, Mr Jenkins had called a neighbour for help. They said that this had been untrue: Mr Jenkins had telephoned the emergency services straightaway and had asked for an ambulance. He had subsequently telephoned the neighbour and then he had telephoned a second time for an ambulance. They said that it had been the prosecution case at trial that Mr Jenkins had behaved strangely and unnaturally when the body had first been discovered. The false suggestion in the programme that he had called a neighbour prior to calling 999 had .."perhaps" been intended to fit in with this aspect of the prosecution case. Bindmans agreed that some telescoping of events was necessary in television reconstructions. However,this telescoping had deliberately distorted the facts .

The BBC said that in resuming the reconstruction shortly before Mr Jenkins' second 999 call, rather than with his first one eight minutes earlier, the programme had not intended to suggest there had been anything strange or unnatural in the way he had called for help, and the BBC did not think viewers would have formed that conclusion. The overall impression had been that of urgent calls for help by Mr Jenkins and the neighbour. At the hearing, they said that viewers would not have inferred from this short part of the reconstructian that these had been the actions of a man reacting to an emergency. There had been no sense of delay, but a degree of confusion. It had not been necessary to refer to the first 999 call. Although viewers could have concluded that the call in the programme had been the first, this would have been of no significance to the portrayal of the evidence.

Bail decision reconstruction

In the programme, a police detective su.perintendent, on learning that Mr Jenkins had been granted bail, stated that Mr Jenkins was a danger to the public. Bindmans said that the suggestion that Mr Jenkins had been a danger to the public, with the implication that he had been likely to commit further crimes, had been absurd. They said that Mr Jenkins had meticulously met all his bail conditions, and had never proved a danger to anyone.

The BBC said that the programme had accurately portrayed DS Paine's reaction to the news that:Mr Jenkins had been granted bail. His reaction had been understandable given his belief that Mr Jenkins was the murderer.

3. Evidence considered by the Commission

The Commission had before it a complaint form and written submissions from Bindmans,and written submissions in response from the BBC. It viewed the programme as broadcast and read a transcript. The Commission held a hearing attended by Mr Neil O'May, accompanied by Mr David Jenkins and Mrs Megan Jenkins (Mr Jenkins'parents),and representatives of the BBC.

4. The Commission's Findings

The Commission notes that Trail of Guilt's intention was to recount the forensic evidence in the investigation of Billie-Jo Jenkins' murder. In the Commission's view, that was fairly achieved. This approach naturally gave weight to the forensic evidence which led to Mr. Jenkins' conviction. The programme did not puport to assess all the available evidence, as would be expected in an investigative programme. Nor does the Commission consider that it was incumbent on the BBC to refer to Professor Denison's work as this was outside the scope of the programme. In its view,the programme did not distort facts concerning the location and distribution of the bloodspots on Mr Jenkins' clothing. Nor was it necessary, in terms of fairness, to provide an analysis ofthe blood staining on the back ofthe assailant or the existence or otherwise of brain or body tissue. The Commission therefore finds no unfairness in these respects.

As to the reconstructions, the Commission considers that it was clear from the discussion following the decision to grant Mr Jenkins bail that this was the personal view ofthe police superintendent concerned. It therefore finds no unfairness in this regard.

In respect of the discussion of the tent spike, the Commission considers that it would have been clear to most viewers that this was a reconstructed account of police speculation at the time. Nonetheless, it would have been preferable for the programme to have explained that it was not suggested at trial that the tent spike had been the nearest possible weapon to hand. As the prograrnme did not make this clear, the Commission considers that some viewers could have thought that this was an accurate account of these events. It therefore finds unfairness to Mr Jenkins here.

The Commission has reservations about the telescoping of events in the 999 reconstruction. For reasons of accuracy, it would have been preferable for the programme to have explained that Mr Jenkins had called the emergency services before calling his neighbour. By implying that he had not called 999 urgently, the programme portrayed him in a more unfavourable light than was justified. In this, the Commission also finds unfairness.

However, the Commission finds that, overall, the programme dealt fairly with the forensic evidence,which was its main objective. It regards that as outweighing the other two matters where unfairness was found. Accordingly, overall. the complaint is not upheld.

9 January 2001

  • Mr Strachan Heppell
  • Mr David Boulton
  • Mr Uday Dholakia
--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Trial and Error

Trial and Error

Trial and Error revealed some startling facts. They clearly indicated the need for a complete review of the circumstances in which Siôn Jenkins was convicted of murder. The material in the film raised serious issues. It underlined a number of anomalies.

Prowlers

Trial and Error emphasised the fact that prowlers had been causing concern in the area and at the Jenkins home for some time before the murder.The subject had featured in reporting at the time of the murder early in 1997.

Specifically,the programme referred to an incident when an intruder tried to force open the patio doors. Film of Lois Jenkins in the days immediately after the murder was also shown. She was commenting emphatically on the family's anxiety about security.

These important details underline the possibility of an alternative suspect. This evidence backs up Siôn Jenkins' denial that he committed the crime.

Why, by the time of the trial a year and a half later, was it disregarded ?

Forensic Issues

The attack on Billie-Jo was described as 'frenzied', the most brutal ever witnessed by an experienced police surgeon. It was stressed that the perpetrator would be heavily bloodstained. In the event, drops of blood, smaller than a pin-head and invisible to the naked eye, were detected on Siôn Jenkins' clothing and were said to be the 'incontrovertible' evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of murder.

After the verdict, Adrian Wain, the prosecution's forensic expert, proclaimed on television that his was 'central evidence in the case', without which there would have been no conviction. In the absence of any motive for the crime, the verdict hinged on his findings.

Trial and Error showed the prosecution video of Wain's experiment. It seems bizarre and unconvincing. However, this was,apparently, what convinced the jury of Sion Jenkins' guilt. Wain used a pig's skull to simulate a human head, in order to illustrate how the drops of blood had spattered on to Siôn Jenkins' clothing.

His comparison had a number of fundamental flaws. For example:

  • a pig's skull is thick, totally different in structure to the fragile human skull
  • the respiratory structures of pigs and humans are not the same
  • there was no circulation of blood in the pig's head used by Wain

The defence assertion that the mist of blood came from Billie-Jo breathing was rejected. The prosecution insisted that only forceful breathing could have produced such an effect. Siôn Jenkins had never said he had been aware that Billie-Jo was breathing. In any case, her terrible injuries made such a thing seem impossible.

The prosecution's scientific evidence has now been discredited by the results of the experiments carried out for Trial and Error by Professor David Dennison, an expert in the heart and lungs,and an eminent scientist. His rigorous testing, clearly captured on film, is a glaring contrast to Wain's crude exercise as demonstrated in the prosecution video. Professor Dennison's experiments were minutely documented with the aid of slow motion photography which can bear the closest scrutiny.His findings were consistent and clearly verified.

His conclusions were reinforced by the testimony of James Palmer, a neurosurgeon, who explained that even when it has suffered massive injury, there is a tiny part of the human brain which can continue to sustain breathing, however faint and irregular. Billie Jo's injuries were consistent with this having happened.

Professor Dennison's fastidious research offered conclusive proof that a tiny, inaudible breath can cause two or three drops of blood to produce two thousand droplets. The high speed cameras revealed a consistent pattern, matching the drops found on Jenkins' clothing. In fact, the victim would not even have needed to be alive for this to happen. By raising Billie-Jo's shoulder as he did, Siôn Jenkins could have caused a minute amount of air to be realeased from her airways, producing the crucial mist of blood.

The evidence had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Siôn Jenkins had killed Billie-Jo.

In the light of Professor Dennison's work, can there still be a serious claim that the pig's skull proved anything?

Witness Statements

A number of witnesses gave the police crucial information which the court never heard about.

  1. Annie said that she had spoken to Billie-Jo as she, her sister and her father had left the house. She subsequently gave more detail about her conversation with Billie-Jo. This proves that Billie-Jo had been alive at that time.
  2. Lottie noticed that the side gate, which had been closed when they left for Do it All, was open when they returned to find Bille-Jo. This suggests that someone had entered while they were away in the car.
  3. A man and his son noticed a strange-looking man lurking in the park opposite the Jenkins house. He was concerned enough by the man's demeanour to go in another direction. His statement to the police was not investigated.
  4. A neighbour reported having heard a man in a state of distress, making strange noises and running along the passage behind the houses shortly after the time Billie-Jo was murdered. Her statement was never followed up by the police.

Why would these vital facts have been ignored?

An Authentic Voice

The film used the original recording of the 999 calls made by Siôn Jenkins shortly after Billie-Jo was discovered lying on the patio. The desperation and anguish in his voice evokes the intense horror of those moments. This is the reality of what took place,live evidence of that moment. Its painful authenticity demolishes the prosecution's fiction of Siôn Jenkins as a cold, calculating killer.

Could even the most devious individual simulate that emotion?


Collectively, the answers to these questions point to the fact that from an early stage it was decided that Siôn Jenkins was guilty of the murder. Selectively used pieces of evidence would support the theory. In effect, the legal process was pre-empted as this 'short cut' was taken.

The criterion of 'beyond reasonable doubt' was not met in court in June 1998; the 'whole truth' was not told.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Two years on: the facts reviewed

Two years on: the facts reviewed

With murder, as with so much else, timing is of the essence. One case may become a national talking-point; another, with equally disturbing features, is ignored altogether. It often depends on the news priorities at the time. If a murderer, wanting maximum publicity for his evil deeds, hired his own PR agent, he would be advised to commit murder on a Saturday afternoon.

The police need to spend the rest of the day securing the crime scene and breaking the terrible news to relatives. News of the crime can then be given to the media early on Sunday morning, thus giving the press a ready-made solution to what editors acknowledge to be their weekly quandary: what do we put in the papers on a Monday morning when nothing has happened on Sunday?

So news of the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins, which occurred at about 3.30pm on Saturday 15 February 1997, duly made the front pages of almost all national newspapers the following Monday morning. But it wasn’t just the accident of timing that caused the crime to lodge so firmly in the public consciousness. There were other features: the unusual savagery of the crime (the police surgeon called to the scene said that in the 26 years of his career it was the most brutal murder he had ever attended); and the haunting photograph of the attractive 13-year-old schoolgirl whose life had been so cruelly cut short.

Finally there was the identity of the man ultimately convicted of her murder: her foster father, Siôn Jenkins, then 39, and headteacher-designate of William Parker Boys’ School in Hastings.


Siôn Jenkins, the elder of two boys whose father had made a successful career in management, was 23 and a teacher at Stepney Green boys’ school when he met 19-year-old Lois Ball in London in the spring of 1981; he was also a keen sculptor and had a studio in Wapping. Lois was a student nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel. She was from Poole, Dorset, the oldest of four children whose family had been part of the Exclusive Brethren, a strict Christian sect. In a statement she later gave to police, Lois said "we had a fast, fun-loving relationship and had an exciting time together. We attended lots of parties and social events."

They married in December 1982, and their first child, Annie, was born in June 1984. At this point Lois gave up nursing and became a registered childminder. Their second child, Lottie, was born in March 1986, and it was then that Siôn and Lois became involved with the Baptist Church. After Jenkins was promoted, the family moved to Waltham Forest, where Esther was born in February 1988 and Maya, in November 1989. After Maya’s birth, Lois began working as a social worker with special needs children.

In 1992 the couple answered a newspaper advertisement looking for foster parents. One of the children concerned, Billie-Jo (whose surname, coincidentally, was also Jenkins) was already a schoolfriend of Annie’s, although she was just over a year older. She was not having an easy time in care; on one occasion, her father snatched her, and the police found them at 11.00 that night in a pub in Canning Town. Billie-Jo was placed with the Jenkins family.

When, later that year, Jenkins was offered the post of deputy head at William Parker, Billie-Jo went with them to Hastings. The move - to a comfortable family home, looking out on to Alexandra Park, and with overgrown woodland behind -- was not without its difficulties for Billie-Jo, but Lois remarked that, overall, Billie-Jo had coped with the change 'very well'. Indeed, only days before the murder, Lois and Siôn had obtained a residence order which gave them parental responsibility for Billie-Jo (effectively, a halfway stage between fostering and adopting).

Saturday 15 February was the first bright Saturday of the year. Coming at the end of a damp and dismal half-term week, it was the kind of day that lifts everyone’s spirits. Siôn and Lois had recently opened bank accounts for Billie-Jo, Annie and Lottie, and all three wanted the opportunity to earn extra pocket money. Billie-Jo and Annie argued about who would paint the patio doors, but agreed that Billie-Jo would make a start while Annie cleaned out the utility room and washed the Opel (there were three family cars: a Citreon, an Opel and, Siôn’s pride and joy, a white MG Roadster). Then, at about 4.00pm, Annie would take over the painting, allowing Billie-Jo to go into town to buy the Reebok trainers she wanted.

The jobs were going slowly - Billie-Jo was filming the dog with a camcorder - but after lunch she and Annie settled down to their tasks. Meanwhile, Lottie went to a clarinet class, and Lois took the two younger children shopping, and then walking on the beach.

Soon it was time for Siôn Jenkins to pick up Lottie from her class. Did the others want to come? Jenkins had taken out the MG and, for the first time since the previous summer, rolled back the roof. Billie-Jo said she’d carry on painting, but Annie decided to go. They picked Lottie up and gave a friend of hers a lift home from the class. Lottie’s friend had lately moved house, and could not at first remember her way home; when they finally dropped her off, her mother recalled, it was between 3.15 and3.20pm; she had been checking the clock because they were so late.

Jenkins, Annie and Lottie then went home but almost at once the three of them went out again; Jenkins had remembered they needed white spirit. As he considered the road too dangerous to do a three-point turn, he drove off in the wrong (that is, longer) direction and went round the park. Then, while he was driving, he decided it was too late for Annie to start painting and started to head back home. Annie, though, looked downcast, so he changed his mind again and they went round the park once more. When finally they reached Do-It-All, Jenkins realised that he hadn’t taken any money with him, so he drove home again.

When they got back to the house, Jenkins opened the door and Annie and Lottie raced in ahead of him. He was, he says, then aware that Lottie had stopped stock-still. "Dad", she screamed, "Billie’s hurt". She was lying in a pool of blood on the patio, a bloodstained metal tent peg by her head.

The first telephone call to the emergency services was logged at 3.38. Records showed that at 3.45 Jenkins then rang a neighbour, Denise Franklin, for assistance, before making a second 999 call. While he was making this call, the children saw the ambulance go past the house and stop down the road, so Jenkins ran after it. The resuscitation attempts of the ambulance crew were, however, in vain and Billie-Jo was pronounced dead at 4.50.

The next day, both Annie and Lottie gave video interviews to police. Amongst other things, Annie said that she had spoken to Billie-Jo as they were all leaving to go to Do-It-All, and Lottie firmly recalled that the gate to the side-passage of the house was closed when they left, but open when they returned. There was a coal-bunker at the end of this side-passage, and Annie had put three tent-pegs on top of it when clearing out the utility room. For an intruder entering the back of the house via the side-passage, these would have been the nearest weapons to hand.

One possible intruder was identified immediately. Many witnesses reported seeing a man behaving strangely in Alexandra Park, near the Jenkins home, at times between 3.00 and 4.00 that afternoon. The man had a long history of mental illness. Indeed, one of the witnesses was a psychiatric nurse who had treated him. One family had an earlier occasion reported his violent behaviour and threats towards [their daughter] to the police. The social services had planned to section him the day before the murder, but had been unable to find him. After the murder the police went to see him, but he was not at home. On Wednesday 19 February, they went to see his parents. One of the officers recorded that the father regrets his son may have been responsible.


After the murder, the Jenkins’ house became a crime-scene and the family went to stay with friends. The police took all articles of clothing that Siôn, Annie and Lottie had been wearing to be tested for, as the family were told, elimination purposes.

On Friday 21 February, Adrian Wain, a forensic scientist at the Lambeth laboratory in London, told Sussex police that he had discovered spots of blood, only visible under a microscope, on Siôn Jenkins’ clothing. More significantly, he added that these spots are typical of those I would expect to find following an impact on to a surface wet with blood. The size of the spots also indicates that the force of the impact was considerable and that the wearer was close to it.

Early on Monday 24 February, Jenkins was arrested. He was given no chance to shave or even to say goodbye. He was questioned over two days, before being released on police bail the following evening. He was, he says, told that if he tried to return to his family, his children would be taken into care.

Ten days earlier, Jenkins had been a respected professional man. Now, he was an outcast. He had no money, and didn’t know where to go or what to do. His solicitor took him to stay overnight at a friend’s house; from there he went to stay with his parents in Aberystwyth.

On 13 March he returned to Hastings and was re-arrested. He again asserted his complete innocence, but by now the police had discovered that he had provided a fallacious c.v. when originally applying to William Parker in 1992. He had said he was a pupil at Gordonstoun. He had not. He also said he had a degree from the University of Kent, which was not true, either. So Jenkins was charged not just with murder, but also with obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

His legal team arranged bail, a condition of which was that he had to leave the area. And so Jenkins returned to his parents in Aberystwyth. He took up sculpture again, attended church regularly, and endured the lengthy 15-month wait until the case went to trial. By now, Lois had become hostile to him, and he was allowed to see their children only in sessions monitored by video cameras and supervised by social services.

The trial eventually began at Lewes Crown Court on 3 June 1998. The prosecution case was that, on returning home from Lottie’s clarinet lesson, Jenkins had lost his temper and battered Billie-Jo to death. The visit to Do-It-All was, the Crown argued, a ploy Jenkins had thought up to buy himself time in which a notional intruder might have come to the house. As evidence of this, they pointed to Jenkins’s circuitous route to the store, the fact that he had taken no money with him, and the added fact that in any case he didn’t need white spirit because there was half-a-bottle at the back of a store cupboard.

The defence argued that this analysis ignored how disorganised family life routinely is. Aren’t half-bottles of white spirit left at the back of cupboards in most houses? And don’t people nevertheless go out to buy a fresh bottle?

Jenkins’ assertion that he had thought twice about going, and had indeed turned back, had been confirmed by Annie in her video interview. She said that he had wanted to go back, but that she’d persuaded him to continue; so, had it not been for her, Jenkins wouldn’t have bought himself any time at all.

The Crown contended, however, that Jenkins’ attitude and conduct, both when he found Billie-Jo and when he was being questioned, were highly incriminating. Jenkins had not ministered first-aid or attended properly to his dying daughter. In fact, he had seemed rather detached and, when the ambulance crew arrived, had calmly gone to sit in his MG.

Jenkins’ efforts may indeed not have been those of a professional first-aider, but which of us could guarantee to act with the requisite calm in such circumstances? There was another factor: his two other children. He tried, he says, to prevent Annie and Lottie witnessing the full horror of what had happened to Billie-Jo, and put them in another room; so he was constantly rushing between the two hysterical children and the dying Billie-Jo.

At this moment of tragedy, there were two diversionary incidents. Just as Jenkins rushed to dial 999, the phone started ringing. Precious time was lost in picking the phone and slamming it down. Then, as Jenkins was waiting for the ambulance, a colleague arrived to deliver some paperwork. Jenkins did not invite him in.

Under cross-examination, Jenkins agreed that he indeed sit in the MG, but said he almost immediately wondered what he was doing and got out again. An expert in psychiatric disorientation following accidents gave evidence for the defence that Jenkins’ behaviour was entirely understandable for someone in a state of shock.

The crux of the prosecution case, however, was the forensic science evidence, those almost invisible spots of Billie-Jo’s blood found on Jenkins’ clothing. There were, crucially, 48 spots in the chest area of the blue fleece jacket Jenkins had been wearing, 21 on his left sleeve and three on his right sleeve. The Crown argued, in line with Adrian Wain’s early conclusions, that the only explanation for these spots was that Jenkins himself was the murderer.

Defence experts vigorously disputed this and insisted that the explanation of the blood spattering was that Billie-Jo had expired the blood on to Jenkins’ clothing in a fine mist when he attended to her as she lay dying.

However, the prosecution responded by asserting that the dying Billie-Jo would not have been capable of breathing out a spray of blood and that, even if this had happened, the blood-spray would not have reached the height at which the spattering occurred on Jenkins’ clothing.

Yet the defence pointed out that it would have been extraordinary, in a crime this brutal, for the assailant to have escaped with only invisible bloodstaining. There was a great deal of blood at the scene - over the dining-room floor, the patio, the wall and the surrounding trellis - so why was there so little on Jenkins himself?

Jenkins was right-handed, yet there were only three blood specks on his right sleeve. Every time that prosecution scientists attempted to replicate the attack (using a pig’s head covered in blood), they ended up with significant bloodstaining on the striking arm of the assailant.

Further, forensic scientists know that in attacks of this kind there are usually tell-tale drip-down blood spots on the back of the murderer’s clothing, caused as the killer has raised the weapon again and again. There were none on Jenkins’ clothing. Defence scientists also suggested that given the savagery of the attack, there would have been fragments of brain and body tissue on his clothing.

The blood on the clothing was the kernel of the case. The submissions concerning it were, however, obscured at trial by technical disputes between defence and prosecution experts about matters such as residual lung capacity and volume and speed of expiration. Indeed, the appeal court subsequently acknowledged that the terms minute volume’ and peak flow’ (concerning breathing capacity) had become muddled. This was a confuion between experts which had, the appeal court noted, misled the judge and may have misled the jury.

The jurors may have been left with the impression that only a very fit girl, and certainly not a dying girl, could have raised the energy to have expelled those microscopic blood droplets. For example, giving evidence for the prosecution, the paediatrician Professor David Southall told them he had no doubt that it was impossible for Billie-Jo in her state to expel 2-3 litres of air’, the amount the prosecution said would have been necessary to expel the blood found on Jenkins’ jacket.

At no stage did the prosecution advance any motive; in a murder trial, though, the Crown do not need to show evidence of motive. There may, though, have been an undercurrent of opinion that there was a sexual connection between the two; Billie-Jo, after all, was an attractive and precocious girl. The prosecution QC asked Jenkins when Billie-Jo’s periods began, and pointedly described the relationship between them as complex.

This idea was uppermost in everyone’s minds, agreed John Haines, one of the defence barristers. It was the most obvious suggestion for a possible motive. We said the prosecution should not even have hinted at anything. The sexual innuendo can be very persuasive. In the closing speech, we reminded the jury that the prosecution had opened the case on the basis that there was no motive, that the medical evidence was that there was no sexual or physical abuse of Billie-Jo, and that there was just no foundation for those suggestions.

But this was in the closing speech. When Jenkins entered the witness-box, many were bewildered when Anthony Scrivener QC, defence counsel, asked Jenkins just one question in the witness-box: Did you kill Billie-Jo? Jenkins replied simply, No, I didn’t. Haines conceded that this had been a difficult forensic decision, taken because of the unusually full account that Jenkins had given to police of his actions that day - an account which had already been read out in court. But it meant that Jenkins was not led through his evidence by his own counsel. And when cross-examined by the prosecution, he appeared unsure of himself.

The defence was also disinclined to use the alternative suspect evidence. This was partly because there was some confusion in the timings of the sightings of the man in Alexandra Park - even though the bulk of evidence indicated that he was seen either just before or just after the vital time.

The jury deliberated overnight, but on Thursday 2 July returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty. Jenkins was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Apart from the complex and controversial scientific evidence, there are two factors that underpin the defence case. The first is the timing. The original 999 call was logged at 3.38; Jenkins had dropped off his daughter’s friend no earlier than 3.15. After accounting for everything that needed to be fitted in to that maximum 23-minute period, there were, said the defence, at most three minutes available to Jenkins to commit the murder. In those three minutes, he needed to work himself up into a violent temper, bludgeon Billie-Jo to death, clean himself up afterwards and calm down so completely that his other two children noticed nothing untoward.

If that seems unlikely, the scenario becomes more difficult to imagine when the second factor is brought into consideration: how did he manage to do all that in the presence of his two daughters? Jenkins insists that Annie and Lottie were with him throughout. Their initial statements corroborated his account. The fact that Annie said that she spoke to Billie-Jo as she left the house indicated that Billie-Jo was still alive after the time when Jenkins was supposed to have murdered her.

This might seem to make the case for Jenkins irrefutable. Yet he was convicted, and his children’s videoed statements were not brought up in court. The reason for this was the change in his relationship with his family.

After the police had received Wain’s early report, with its incriminating interpretation of the blood spots, one of the officers reported that Jenkins had continued to maintain his innocence. The officer then wrote: Told them to feed into Mum.

In the course of a two-hour interview on 25 February, the police repeatedly told Lois that scientific evidence proved that her husband had committed the crime. The next day, she told police she felt as if she was hallucinating and that what she had heard had freaked her.

In an earlier statement to police, Lois had made no mention of Siôn Jenkins ever having been violent. But now she made a second statement in which she alleged that he had hit her on a number of occasions. Yet, according to this statement, the major source of marital disharmony had nothing to do with violence: In 1995, the friction between myself and Siôn hit an all-time high’, she explained. Siôn announced that he would be standing as the Conservative candidate in the by-elections for the West St Leonard’s ward. I was surprised and upset. Neither of us had been involved in politics, but to stand as a Conservative went against everything that I thought we believed in’.

Worse was to follow for Siôn Jenkins: on 20 March, the police spoke to the four children in the presence of Lois and told them of the strong evidence that their father had killed their sister. The police believed that Jenkins had reconstructed Annie’s testimony by speaking to her privately on the night of the murder (he had had no opportunity to speak to Lottie alone.) The defence still believed that the children’s original testimony was accurate and truthful, but felt that as a result of what the police told them on 20 March, any evidence the girls gave in court might be contaminated. The trial judge criticised the police for what happened on 20 March, and the appeal court judges added that they would be inclined to express our concerns about this aspect of the investigation rather less circumspectly.

Certainly, the police treatment of Lois and the children had devastating consequences for Siôn. His defence team felt that, despite the original video recordings, they could not call the children as witnesses at trial.

So, Jenkins was found guilty. In December 1999, he took his case to appeal, and lost. (He has also been refused permission to go to the House of Lords.) At appeal, the judges were persuaded by such points as the fact that Jenkins was the last known adult to see the deceased alive, and the first known adult to see her dead; and that his explanation for the trip to Do-It-All was itself unusual in that he went without money by a circuitous route to buy an item he did not need. The evidence of the blood-spots was, the appeal court felt, conclusive.

At appeal, the defence had introduced fresh evidence of experiments showing that a mere three drops of blood could be fragmented into 2,000 droplets and could be caused by an exhalation which was brief, inaudible and invisible. With the nose angled slightly upwards, the droplets could reach a height of 85cm above the ground.

The judges conceded that such evidence was relevant and credible, before dismissing the appeal. One of the points that will be made when the case is next argued - Jenkins is hoping to take his case to the European Court - is that this judgment conflicts with two more recent cases. In these, appeal court judges, having found that new evidence is relevant and credible, have said that it is not their place to second-guess what a jury might have thought had it heard the relevant and credible evidence, and that the only proper course was to quash the convictions and order re-trials.

Anthony Scrivener QC, Jenkins’s barrister, believes that the mistakes in the scientific evidence presented at trial were critical. The prosecution led the experts astray, he said. That was the biggest point in the case; the jury never actually heard the right expert medical evidence. The Court of Appeal agreed it was a terrible mistake, but then said, we’ve heard the fresh evidence, and the conviction is OK. That had never been done before in jurisprudence.

Meanwhile, the defence has no idea of the whereabouts of the suspect the police first thought of. The day before the murder, however, he had been in Debenhams. Billie-Jo was also in Debenhams that day, choosing the trainers she was going to buy on the Saturday. Staff there thought of this man as a weirdo. Several times during the past week he’d bought a spoon for £2.50p, only to ask for a refund the following day. That Friday, he left behind in the restaurant some crazed writings in the form of a letter to the governor of the World Bank in which he referred to paedophilia and the protection of children.

After the murder, his psychiatrist refused to allow him to be questioned by police, explaining that his client was floridly psychotic at the time of the murder of Billie-Jo and could not remember anything that happened on the night [sic] the murder took place’.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Bob Woffinden Reviews the Case: May 03

Bob Woffinden Reviews the Case: May 03

Just over six years ago, on a bright Saturday afternoon in February, 13-year-old Billie-Jo Jenkins was bludgeoned to death. The doctor called to the scene said that in 26 years' experience as a police surgeon, it was the most brutal murder he had ever attended.

The body was discovered on the patio by the open French windows at the back of the house in Hastings, Sussex, where Billie-Jo lived with Sion and Lois Jenkins and their four daughters. She had been cheerfully earning pocket money, painting the patio doors, when the attacker struck.

The depth of the tragedy could hardly be exaggerated. Billie-Jo had been born and brought up in unhappy circumstances in the east end of London, and spent some years in care. When Sion and Lois answered a newspaper advert for foster parents, Billie-Jo was placed with the Jenkins family. She was already a schoolfriend of Annie, the eldest daughter.

In 1992, Jenkins got a job as deputy headteacher at William Parker boys' school in Hastings. As the family made plans to move, Billie-Jo begged to go with them. It was a wonderful new beginning for her. The Jenkins family moved to a spacious house overlooking Alexandra Park. Billie-Jo was part of a large family in a stable home; she had her own room and her own telephone line, so that she could maintain contact privately with her natural family.

Certainly, Billie-Jo was a handful. She could be boisterous and, sometimes, almost uncontrollable; but Sion and Lois, who was a social worker, thought she had coped with the change "very well". Only days before the murder they obtained a residence order for her - which is a sort of halfway stage between fostering and adopting. Everything seemed to be working out.

Now, the bright future was no more. Billie-Jo lay in a pool of blood, an 18-inch bloodstained metal tent peg by her head.

If an intruder had entered the front garden from the road and walked up the side-passage to the back of the house, then he would have come across the tent spikes, which had been left lying on top of the coal bunker. "It would have been easy for the killer to have picked the tent peg up", confirmed the police.

Hastings, once a genteel seaside resort, had changed over the years. It now had a shifting population. There had been a number of violent crimes in the area, and there was growing public concern about drug-dealing and vandalism. Many of the once-reputable houses now provided rundown bed-and-breakfast accommodation for psychiatric patients released under care in the community.

The day after the murder, the police told the press that a man with a scar or birthmark had been seen acting suspiciously in the vicinity of the Jenkins' home that Saturday afternoon. They also added that, "Whoever was responsible for the vicious and evil attack must have been stained by blood and probably by white paint on their clothing too".

After a few days, however, police abandoned their interest in the man with the scar or birthmark. Their attention instead focused on Sion Jenkins himself. Amidst great publicity, he was arrested and charged with the murder.

Sion Jenkins started off with ambitions to become a sculptor. He had a studio in Wapping, east London and, to pay the rent, did two days a week supply teaching at Stepney Green boys' school. In the spring of 1981, he met Lois, a student nurse, at the bar of the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel. He was then 23 and she was 19. When they married and started a family - Annie, their eldest child, was born in June 1984 - Lois gave up nursing and subsequently became a social worker. Sion had to take more regular work and began taking teaching more seriously as a career. He worked at schools in east London and in 1992 obtained the post of deputy head at William Parker school in Hastings.

By 1997, the headteacher was due to retire in the summer and, at the time of Billie-Jo's murder, Sion had just been appointed to take over from him in September, at the start of the new school year.

Saturday 15 February, which marked the end of half-term week, began as a typically active and chaotic one for the Jenkins family. While Lottie, the second eldest child, went to the cinema, Lois took her other three daughters shopping to Safeway's. Later that morning, she telephoned Sion to say she couldn't pay for the groceries as she'd forgotten to take her cheque-book. Sion drove there to meet her, but then realised he'd taken the wrong cheque-book, so he had to go back home again to get the right one.

So all that took much longer than they'd anticipated. Having returned from the cinema, Lottie went to her clarinet class. Meanwhile, Lois took the two youngest children for a walk on the beach. At home, Annie and Billie-Jo earned extra pocket money by doing household chores. While Billie-Jo was painting the patio doors, Annie cleaned out a storeroom. In doing so, she put three metal tent pegs, which had previously been used to hold down a garden swing, on top of the coal bunker.

Then, Sion took Annie with him to pick up Lottie. When they got back, he decided they needed white spirit for the painting, so, taking Lottie and Annie, he drove off to Do-It-All. When they got there, Sion realised that, exactly like Lois earlier in the day, he'd forgotten to take any money. It was another fruitless journey. So they drove home again. That was when they discovered Billie-Jo on the patio.

The prosecution, however, had a different view of events. They believed that, on returning with Annie and Lottie from the clarinet class, Sion had seen Billie-Jo painting the patio doors. After a day of increasing frustration, he instantly lost his temper. Perhaps this was because her painting was too slapdash; perhaps it was because she was playing the radio too loudly. As a result, he had picked up a weapon and beaten her to death. He had then calmly walked out of the house and taken Annie and Lottie to Do-It-All to create a false alibi for himself.

The primary evidence against Jenkins, however, were 158 microscopic bloodspots found on his clothing. Adrian Wain, the forensic scientist who had detected these spots, said that as Jenkins had swung the weapon again and again, he had created a mist of droplets, which had caused the spattering on his clothing.

Jenkins was arrested on 24 February, and released on police bail after two days of questioning. However, he had to leave the area altogether - in case he influenced potential witnesses, he was told - and went to his parents' home in Aberystwyth.

On 13 March, he was re-arrested, taken to Hastings magistrates' court and charged with murder. The police also publicised details of a second charge, that of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. This was on the basis that Jenkins had given untrue details on his c.v. when applying for the post at William Parker. He said he'd attended Gordonstoun - when in fact he'd been to Glasgow Academy - and that he'd got a degree from the University of Kent - whereas he'd actually got a teaching qualification from Nonnington College of Education near Canterbury, which only later became absorbed into Kent University. (On Christmas Eve 2002, over five years later, Jenkins received a letter from the Department of Education asking him to explain inaccuracies in his c.v. Nice to know they're on the ball.)

In a subsequent BBC documentary about the case, a character playing one of the investigating police officers said, "The only thing he's got is a general certificate of education from Nonnington". Another officer responded, "Why didn't the school think to check him out?"

In fact, it was the police themselves who apparently hadn't checked things out. In 1992, Jenkins had been awarded a postgraduate degree, an MSc in education management at the University of East London - so he was certainly qualified, even if he'd embellished his c.v. Moreover, he'd been promoted at William Parker - from deputy head to head - because of what he'd achieved in his five years at the school. "Undoubtedly, he was a very good deputy head", recalled Roger Mitchell, who was then headmaster. "We worked very closely together on the preparations for the Ofsted inspection, his contribution was significant, and we got a good report."

There were few, however, who remained loyal to Jenkins. He realised that, while he was absent in Wales, back home in Hastings the mood became unfriendly. "The statements that were given about me pre-arrest were all favourable to me," he later told me, "yet after my arrest suddenly everyone started giving hostile statements. People were almost queueing up to provide the police with what they wanted!

"I'm amazed that witnesses feel so beholden to the police that they bend over backwards to support their hypothesis. Clearly, people desperately want to be seen and commended as good citizens."

Jenkins stood trial at Lewes crown court in June 1998. The prosecution said that there were several indications that he hadn't been genuinely interested in Billie-Jo's well-being. He made two 999 calls, eight minutes apart, but merely said that Billie-Jo had "fallen". He hadn't attended properly to his dying daughter and had appeared calm and detached. In fact, at one point, the ambulance crew noticed that he had gone outside to put the hood up on his white MG Roadster.

It was clear, claimed the prosecution, that the motive for the trip to Do-It-All was bogus: the journey there was not direct (they had gone round the park twice), Jenkins had taken no money with him, and in any case he didn't need white spirit as there was already half-a-bottle in a cupboard.

The defence tried to explain the details to which the prosecution attached, they claimed, undue importance. Certainly, Jenkins may not have acted appropriately in the moments after the discovery of Billie-Jo - but, confronted by such appalling circumstances, which of us could guarantee to have the presence of mind to act correctly?

"When I found Billlie, I couldn't 'accept' what I found and now know I went into shock", Jenkins explained to me later. "My initial reaction was one of panic as I knew that I didn't know what to do. I had never attended any first-aid courses, I had never been involved in any major accident. My inexperience made me panic more as well as increasing my distress."

In any case, Jenkins did not have only Billie-Jo to consider. Annie and Lottie were, naturally, hysterical, even though he had quickly ushered them into another room. "I had Billie-Jo dying on one side of the house, I had the children on the other, crying and screaming", he said to the Crown QC under cross-examination. "I was running between them. You don't have any understanding of what it was actually like in that house when I returned."

He admitted that, after the arrival of the emergency services, he had gone outside and sat in his car, before wondering what he was doing there. Professor Michael Trimble gave evidence that, for someone in a state of shock, behaving in this way was entirely understandable.

The prosecution argued that Jenkins had "lost his rag" after the various frustrations of family life that day. Jenkins, however, insisted that it had been, until the return to the house, a perfect Saturday. He was enjoying the first opportunity that year to ride around with the hood down on his MG convertible. Yes, the journey to buy white spirit was unnecessary; he hadn't known there was a half-bottle left at the back of a cupboard - don't thousands of families make that same mistake? He didn't take money with him - hadn't Lois done exactly the same thing on a more important family shopping trip earlier in the day?

The "lost his rag" argument did not seem to make sense in other ways. Whereas an intruder, coming into the house from outside, would have come across the tent peg straightaway, Jenkins would have needed to go out of his way to pick it up; many other potential weapons, including a hammer, lay more conveniently to hand.

Nor was there any evidence that Jenkins had previously behaved in such a way. The police went carefully through his long record as a schoolteacher. Never, whatever the provocation, had he lost his temper with a child. (The suggestion - vehemently denied by Jenkins - that he had kicked Billie-Jo while on holiday in France was ruled inadmissible evidence by the judge, and so was never tested in court.)

The prosecution was unable to advance any motive why Jenkins might have behaved in such an extraordinary and uncharacteristic way. So there was no motive and nor was there a "window of opportunity". Between picking up Lottie from the clarinet class, and the first call to the emergency services, there was simply not time for Jenkins to have lost his temper so violently that he murdered her and then completely regained his composure.

Yet the evidence of the blood spots on the clothing remained critical. Wain and other prosecution experts argued that the distribution of bloodspots on his clothing could only be explained if he were the murderer. Much of the trial was concerned with complex scientific evidence. Jenkins had noticed a "bubble of blood" from Billie-Jo's nostril. The defence suggested that she was still breathing, albeit imperceptibly, when Jenkins first went to her, and she had breathed out a mist of blood on to his clothes.

However, David Southall, professor of paediatrics at Keele University, gave prosecution evidence that Billie-Jo would not have been able to breathe out with sufficient force to cause the spray of blood.

In the end, after a four-week trial, the jury found Jenkins guilty. Mr Justice Gage said that he had been convicted "on compelling evidence" and was "a very considerable danger to the community". He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Despite the judge's harsh words, a critical common-sense question at the heart of the case remained unanswered. How could anyone have bludgeoned the girl that ferociously, and yet come away with only invisible bloodspots on their clothing? There was blood all around the area of the murder - over the patio, the walls, the dining-room and the trellis outside - yet very little on the man convicted of the killing. Further, in such a crime, forensic scientists would expect to find not just blood on the assailant but also bits of flesh and, in this case, brain tissue.

Within days of the conviction, I wrote an article in the Daily Mail, explaining why I believed that Jenkins was completely innocent. Ever since, there have been widespread doubts about the safety of the conviction.

However, Lois Jenkins, who hasn't even seen Sion since the day of his arrest in 1997, became increasingly hostile to him. Soon after the conviction, she divorced him and, in 1999, started a relationship with a 26-year-old martial arts expert, by whom she now has a son. At the appeal in December 1999, Lois conspicuously sat with the police, on the opposite side of the court to the Jenkins family.

The appeal, once again, was primarily concerned with complex scientific arguments about air-flow and whether the dying Billie-Jo would have been able to exhale a mist of blood droplets. It was even halted halfway through to allow the scientists time to perform further tests. The defence brought forward new evidence of experiments showing that a mere three drops of blood could be fragmented into 2,000 droplets. In the end, however, the appeal was rejected, the judges concluding that the "exhalation theory does not fit the facts of this case". Jenkins, still strongly protesting his innocence, was taken back to Wakefield prison. Subsequently, Lois went with the children and her new partner to live abroad.

Jenkins' solicitor, Neil O'May, prepared a submission to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body that decides whether cases should be given the chance of a second appeal. However, just as the Commission was due to announce its decision, to the dismay of the Jenkins family, Lois wrote a lengthy piece for the Sunday Times, in which she complained, amongst other things, about what she termed "the justice industry, grinding its self-righteous wheel". The article seemed deliberately designed to scupper Jenkins' chances of getting another appeal. Jenkins, as he told me from prison, felt most betrayed by his former wife.

"Despite having known extremes of emotional turmoil, there always seems to be fresh anguish to overcome", he pointed out. "To my incredulity, I opened the Sunday Times only to be faced with a picture of Billie. Lois had decided to sell her story as a means of undermining me with the CCRC. On that particular Sunday I did feel acute sadness that, again, she had sought to destroy me.

"Even now, I have no idea what motivated her or why she has permitted such misguided thinking to rule her life."

Nevertheless, the CCRC has indeed decided to send the case back to appeal.

"For the trial, every attempt was made to establish that Sion was a violent man, but there was never any evidence of that," pointed out Canon Stuart Bell, the rector of Aberystwyth. During the 15 months Jenkins spent on remand, Bell came to know him well. He attended the trial and became one of Jenkins's most stalwart supporters. "Subsequently, all his wing reports in prison have come up with exactly the same response", he continued, "that there has been no behaviour consistent with the crime for which he has been convicted."

As Jenkins looked forward to this new opportunity to prove his innocence, he reflected on what has been his greatest loss - being able to see his children grow up.

"My children have now been abroad for nearly a year. Despite the anguish I felt when they left, I have been comforted by their letters. However, it has been difficult watching them grow up through their letters, particularly as my mental image of them often returns to the time we were last together in Hastings. My eldest is now an adult woman and my other three daughters are maturing teenagers. Over the past five years my daughters' childhoods have evaporated before my eyes. This has been an aspect of my imprisonment that I've found impossibly difficult to bear - it's something I think about every day.

"But whatever years are stolen from me, I believe that God will bless the years that I have left with them.

"My journey and my fight for justice have been fraught with difficulties", he concluded, "but the love and concern of my family, friends and supporters has enabled me to overcome those moments of despair and isolation. Their support has kept my hope alive and given me the confidence to believe that one day the truth will come out."

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Daily Mail - April 2004

Daily Mail - April 2004

A new perspective.

A two page Daily Mail article by journalist Jo-Ann Goodwin discloses details which offer a completely new perspective on the story of what happened when Billie-Jo Jenkins was murdered in February 1997. It also focuses on Lois Jenkins, scrutinising her relationship with the police, questioning the allegations she has made, and analysing the nature of her undoubted influence on the case.

Sources very close to events are quoted by Goodwin. Their comments have the effect of bringing Sussex police, once again, right into the spotlight.

The Mail article highlights the way Sussex police chose to focus on Siôn Jenkins as their key suspect, despite substantial evidence about a much more credible suspect, identified, for legal reasons, as Suspect A.

The police case rested on the hypothesis that for some unknown reason, Siôn Jenkins suddenly flew into a rage and brutally killed Billie-Jo in a very short space of time. Having done so he instantly returned to a state of calm, with no visible sign that he had committed what the duty police surgeon at the time described as the most brutal murder he had ever attended in 26 years. The defence's attempts to point out the flaws in this incredible tale were unsuccessful. The police version had a persuasive quality ; logic was defeated by the appeal of a dramatic story.

However, an important fact has now been revealed in the article.

When Billie-Jo's body was discovered, there were clear indications that her death was not simply the result of a volcanic outburst of temper on the part of her murderer, as the prosecution has always asserted. Some more complex and deeply disturbed impulse was very apparent. What was found at the scene of the murder was not the work of a few seconds.

Suspect A was arrested immediately, but could not be interviewed at the time because of his highly unstable mental state. The expectation was that he would be interviewed in due course. In fact, this never actually happened.

While an outraged public was demanding an arrest, an unexpected development had immediate value for those desperate to identify a killer. The article quotes someone 'close to the murder hunt' as saying " The forensic reports came back. Billie-Jo's blood had been found on Siôn's fleece. That was it .The police went for it hook line and sinker"

There was considerable and significant evidence concerning Suspect A - but inexplicably, it was never followed up.

Instead, with the existing suspect - Siôn Jenkins - in effect as a 'bird in the hand', random details were shaped into a gratifying, illogical, but powerful fiction.

Jo-Ann Goodwin reports one 'highly placed source' as saying " If Siôn Jenkins is released, it will not be on a legal technicality. He will walk free because it has become obvious that the killer is another man."

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The burglar's confession.

The burglar's confession.

Confession - or diversion?

Why was public attention diverted from the crucial forensic evidence emerging in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday 7 July ?

This evidence challenged the prosecution case leading to the original conviction of Siôn Jenkins, which was upheld at the first appeal. Its complexity made it less accessible than the events which preceded it during the first week of this appeal. Its significance, though, was immense.

Yet prominence was given to the unlikely story of a burglar who allegedly confessed to the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins .

How coincidental that on the day when important new forensic evidence was being heard, The Sun newspaper chose to disclose this apparently major 'breakthrough'. Interestingly, it appeared on page 22, at the tail end of an article entitled 'Wife Begged Hubby: Confess on Billie-Jo'.

Following its account of the appeal proceedings on 6 July, it had a short item referring to an alleged confession to the murder by someone in Exeter prison two years ago. Evidently the cellmate who heard that confession has just seen fit to share the news. Sussex police have confirmed that officers will be speaking to the burglar, to whom a direct quote is attributed in the article.

This scenario implies a random and casually opportunist attack, in contradiction to the still-unexplained fact that black plastic had been deliberately forced into Billie-Jo's nostril. In court, police forensic scientist Adrian Wain acknowledged the strangeness of this particular detail.

The BBC News website, reporting the story on 7 July, said that Detective Chief Inspector Jeremy Paine ' who is overseeing the inquiry .. played down the significance of the information. He said a number of calls had been received in relation to the original case and as many as 90 people had been investigated.'

Presumably, in the near future there will be an announcement that the burglar has been eliminated from enquiries, along with 90 other individuals - leaving no one apart from Siôn Jenkins in the frame.

(The BBC reported the story at 12.27pm in an item entitled 'Police to quiz Billie-Jo suspect.' That item is no longer available online.)

A prison cell confession story has figured in this case in the past. Immediately after Siôn Jenkins' conviction in 1998, The News of the World printed a completely untrue account of his alleged confession to a cellmate in Belmarsh prison. Sussex police were involved in commenting on that story too.

Prison cell confessions produce dubious evidence and have a shoddy history.

The Sun and The News of the World belong to to the same family of newspapers under common ownership. Their shared tactic is both stale and debased .

It is a distraction from the rigorous scientific evidence currently being presented at this appeal. It is a distraction from the fact that there is a credible alternative suspect. It is a distraction from the fact that Siôn Jenkins is an innocent man and the real murderer remains free.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Trail of Guilt

Trail of Guilt

On 18 January 2000, BBC1 screened a docu-drama showing how the police used forensic evidence to convict Siôn Jenkins of murder.

The forty minute programme revealed little scientific detail to justify the eventual outcome of the case. If it was a faithful record of how the investigation was actually conducted, the programme clearly demonstrates that decisions were made not on the basis of reason or deduction, but according to the opinions of two individuals - Jeremy Paine and Adrian Wain.

The story was presented in the style of a police drama. Events were depicted to evoke emotion, and for effect rather than for accuracy.

The scene portraying the discovery of blood spattering on Siôn Jenkins' clothing is followed by a shot of Adrian Wain describing his surprise, "knowing who he was and what his position was." Wain makes clear that from this point he assumed the murderer to be Siôn Jenkins.

Viewers are then told that Jeremy Paine became 'convinced' that Siôn Jenkins must have killed Billie-Jo.There is nothing to show the evidence on which his certainty was founded.

It seems that from this stage, not long after the murder, being able to charge Siôn Jenkins with murder became the main focus of police efforts.

Wain states in the film: " There were huge pressures on me to provide an answer one way or the other." It was evidently made clear to Hastings police that they had two weeks to produce 'the evidence the CPS asked for'.

In effect, they were shaping the evidence to fit their hypothesis.They were not looking for objective proof.

At this stage the film showed two excited detectives discussing the discovery of Siôn Jenkins' falsified CV. They agreed that they could now charge him with obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception. This event was presented as a momentous turning point for the prosecution.

The film clearly demonstrated that the discovery of the falsified CV was a key factor in confirming the police view that Siôn Jenkins was guilty of murder.

This was an illogical connection, but one which proved to have drastic consequences.

Forensic evidence

Adrian Wain spoke about his experiments with a pig's head and a leg of pork. Blood was applied to the surfaces before they were battered by Wain. The findings from this activity provided apparently compelling proof of Siôn Jenkins' guilt.

At appeal the rigorous scientific evidence offered an alternative explanation which was acknowledged as 'relevant' and 'credible'.

When Siôn Jenkins was granted bail police outrage was intense. In the film Jeremy Paine openly reveals his contemptuous view that it was only granted because Siôn Jenkins was "middle class and respectable."

Personal prejudice is an unreliable basis for police activity.

Over the year leading up to the trial, police are described as reconstructing the details of what took place. Jeremy Paine and Ann Capon are depicted at the scene of the crime, speculating on how events unfolded. In the garden of the Jenkins home, Paine comments that the tent peg would be 'the nearest weapon to hand.'

At the appeal it was pointed out that other potential weapons would have been much nearer to someone actually inside the house, as Siôn Jenkins was known to have been.

As the programme approaches its close Jeremy Paine gives his view of what he judges to be Siôn Jenkins' arrogance in refusing to admit to having killed Billie-Jo.In talking about how Siôn Jenkins reacted on finding Billie-Jo, he confidently asserts that this behaviour was not "what you or I would have done."

How can anyone know what they would do in such a traumatic circumstances? How likely is it that anyone would actually - as Paine suggested - cradle in their arms a victim with the horrific injuries Billie - Jo suffered?

In the film, shots of police building up their hypothesis alternate with shots of the narrative they are creating. The borders between reality and fiction are blurred by this technique.

This film was made with the explicit co-operation of Hastings police. If it gives a true account of their work it is no wonder that there is still enormous disquiet about the result it achieved.

'Trail of Guilt' trivialises a tragedy. It can only rekindle profound doubts about the verdict and what is meant by justice in Britain today.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Sussex Police

Sussex Police

A force in disarray.

At the present critical stage in the case of Siôn Jenkins, the role of Sussex police merits examination .

In the interests of justice nothing less will do.

May 2004 - Troubling times.

As Siôn Jenkins' appeal date approached, questions were once again being asked about the operations of Sussex police. Both internally and externally, concerns were being voiced.

The Ashley Case: . The Sussex Police force is being taken to court by a number of its own officers over the way they were treated after being charged in connection with the fatal shooting of James Ashley six years ago. Compensation for the Ashley family is currently being negotiated.

The Abatan Case : The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published its report on the flawed investigation by Sussex police into the murder of Jay Abatan in Brighton five years ago. No one has ever been charged with that murder. In January 2001 an investigation by Essex police produced damning evidence about the competence and procedures of Sussex police in the Abatan case. Disciplinary action against individual officers could now follow.

Over the seven years since Billie-Jo Jenkins was murdered, there has been regular public criticism of Sussex police by a series of police and PCA investigations. These latest examples simply emphasise this fact. The implications for the Jenkins case cannot be lightly dismissed.

January 2004 - The same old story.

In January 1998 two vulnerable women were murdered, eight days apart, in Hastings. Coming barely a year after the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins, the crimes caused shockwaves locally. Yet six years on those murders are still unsolved.

Each year since then, around the January anniversary, the local paper has carried a story reporting progress on the investigation, with police quotes stressing that they are now much nearer finding the culprit. For two successive years readers were told about astonishing 'new' DNA technology which would enable the killer to be unmasked.

That has never happened.

The police spin has now become an annual event : each year the story is almost the same.

In 2004 it continues to run. The Hastings Observer of 23rd January contained an item claiming that the "murder probe is still active six years on ".The detective Chief Inspector in charge of the case repeated the claim that there is a "significant suspect". Still, though, no one has been charged.

The paper reports that the DCI .. reiterated his comments from last year that " the suspect knows of our interest, and we continue to hope to resolve it." He again stated, meaningfully, " At this stage we are happy that he presents no threat to anyone."

What underlies this bizarre annual ritual, and what does it say about the operations of Sussex police in Hastings?

Justice is promised but never delivered.

Alarmingly, at least seven murders in the town remain unsolved. In addition, there is the murder of Billie-Jo , for which Siôn Jenkins, an innocent man, was conveniently - but wrongly - convicted, while the real killer is still at large.

November 2003 - Sussex police: more disclosures

As preparations for Siôn Jenkins' second appeal went ahead, Sussex police were, once again, in the news

Ashley shooting:
Ken Jones,Chief Constable of Sussex police, travelled to Liverpool to apologise in person to the family of James Ashley for his killing by Sussex police officers.
Brutal beating:
The force has had to pay compensation to a man beaten up during the course of an arrest. The incident was captured on camera and was shown on television news.
Child pornography:
A former Hastings based police inspector has admitted in court to several counts of downloading pornographic images of children while still a serving police officer. He has been given a custodial sentnece and his name will be placed on the sex offenders' register.

December 2002: Another blunder by Sussex police.

Once again there is a question mark over the operations of Sussex Police force.

Two women, wrongly charged with murder, were awarded substantial damages for the injustice they suffered at the hands of Sussex police. By agreeing that Linda Watson and her daughter are entitled to compensation, the Home Secretary has acknowledged the disastrous failure by a force which, over the past six years has attracted sharp criticism for the incompetence of its operations.

The women have each been awarded £25,000 as interim compensation under the Home Secretary's scheme for miscarriage of justice. Sussex police have been forced to apologise and acknowledge their complete innocence. This unusual move, and the size of the award, indicate the extreme gravity of the situation.

The murder of Richard Watson took place in December 1996, two months before the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins. For most of 1997 and early 1998 Sussex police were simultaneously investigating these two high profile cases, using the same systems and methods.There were serious shortcomings in their handling of both cases in which the quest for a successful prosecution was a priority. An independent inquiry has concluded that the police " failed to keep an open mind ". The same is true in the case of Siôn Jenkins

The Watson case collapsed in June 1998, in the very same week that Siôn Jenkins' trial came to court.In July 1998 Paul Whitehouse, in his report to the Sussex Police Authority, explicitly linked the Watson case with the Jenkins case, stressing "that both were investigated with the same high degree of integrity and professionalism..."

In the light of this recent development the comment is eloquent.

Linda Watson is quoted as saying " truths that were so obvious were so deliberately misconstrued ".

This telling obervation has a powerful resonance with the Jenkins case.

Sussex police: more bad news - 5th October 2002.

There have been fresh revelations casting doubt on the professionalism and integrity of Sussex police.

Three officers have been disciplined in connection with a flawed murder investigation in Brighton in December 2001. Once again the force is being investigated by the Police Complaints Authority for its failure to act properly.

A senior Hastings police officer has been charged with 27 child pornography offences, and has just resigned.

The treatment of Siôn Jenkins by Sussex police has been a matter of controversy for six years years. In that time there has been abundant evidence of their incompetence. That evidence can only reinforce public doubts over their behaviour in the Jenkins case in 1997/98.

2001: a disturbing record.

Three times in a single year, following investigation by an external body, the Sussex police force was castigated for its incompetence, inefficiency and lack of integrity.

January 2001:the police complaints authority produced a damning report about the way Sussex police conducted a murder case which was being investigated at the same time as the Billie-Jo Jenkins murder.

The murder of Richard Watson took place in December 1996, two months before Billie-Jo's death. For most of 1997 and early 1998 Sussex police were simultaneously investigating two high profile cases, using common systems and methods.There were serious shortcomings in their handling of both cases in which the quest for a successful prosecution was a priority.

The Watson case collapsed in June 1998, in the same week that Siôn Jenkins' trial came to court.In July 1998 Paul Whitehouse, in his report to the Sussex Police Authority, explicitly linked the Watson case with the Jenkins case, stressing "that both were investigated with the same high degree of integrity and professionalism..."

This was reported across the county in PATROL, the force's newsheet.

The judgement of the police complaints authority adds an interesting twist to the comment.

January 2001: an Essex police investigation team echoed the PCA's criticisms, this time over the way Sussex police handled a murder in Brighton in January 1999.

May 2001: after their investigations into the operations of Sussex police in the Ashley shooting, Kent and Hampshire forces both reported serious flaws. In the course of trying to establish what had happened they had encountered deceit, 'concocted intelligence' and a failure to tell the truth which almost amounted to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The James Ashley case, like the Jenkins case, indicates that the priority of Sussex police was to justify their own actions at any cost. In both cases the police were selective with the facts which were shaped to suit their accounts. In both cases, innuendo and character assassination were tactics used to justify the official line.

July 2001: The Police Complaints authority investigate allegations of brutality by Sussex police in Hastings.

How many more incidents are needed for the authorities to acknowledge that this force is deeply flawed, and that their handling of the Jenkins case merits close scrutiny ?

A question of credibility.

The picture of a discredited police force in Sussex has come into focus over the past seven years.

Paul Whitehouse's resignation as Chief Constable of Sussex police on 26 June 2001 simply reinforced the concerns about that force which have been consistently voiced on this website.

The Home Secretary's unprecedented intervention to end his leadership was prompted by major concerns about the methods and the integrity of Sussex police.

The Home Secretary's concern over the James Ashley shooting led to the resignation of Paul Whitehouse as Chief Constable of Sussex police. Soon afterwards came news that Sussex police were yet again being investigated by the Police Complaints Authority, this time over allegations of police brutality in Hastings . Hastings is the town where James Ashley was shot, and the town where Siôn Jenkins was charged with murder after a police investigation which has raised many unanswered questions.

The James Ashley case may have brought matters to a head, but there have been serious concerns for many years. The case of Siôn Jenkins is one of a number which point to the need for questions to be answered.

The resignation of Paul Whitehouse underlined the need for a radical examination of the performance and practices of Sussex police.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4 following his resignation, Mr. Whitehouse referred specifically to the Jenkins case as an example of efficiency and good practice by his force.The same point has been made in print. In view of continuing public concern about the conviction of Siôn Jenkins, we challenge Paul Whitehouse's claim.

The conviction of Siôn Jenkins has been widely questioned from the outset. There is a belief that it was achieved more by skilful manipulation of the media than by effective police work.

Mr Whitehouse himself emphasised the importance of the 'post-trial media coverage' in creating the notion that a good job had been done. Following the conviction, Jeremy Paine, the officer leading the investigation, was promoted; on a wave of personal publicity over the Siôn Jenkins case, he then launched into a media career of his own.

At the time of his departure Mr Whitehouse complained of the affront to his integrity, and his concern that leaked documents 'meant the whole truth had not been reported.'

There is an irony in the fact that he was complaining about precisely the experience inflicted on Siôn Jenkins by his own police force. Even by default, the media can be even-handed.

A return to integrity?

When Ken Jones replaced Paul Whitehouse as Chief Constable of Sussex he spoke of the need for 'a fresh start'.

  • He has personally apologised to the family of James Ashley who was killed by a Hastings officer.
  • Commenting on the prison sentence given to a Hastings officer found guilty of downloading child pornography, a police spokesman made it clear that the force will not seek to defend its officers who have broken the law.

This campaign calls on the Home Secretary and the Chief Constable of Sussex to confront the disturbing reality of what took place in Sussex during the 1990s, under a regime which cared less about justice than about a achieving a conviction..

The residue of past malpractice lingers on; there are those still suffering the consequences of what was done in the name of the law.

Siôn Jenkins is one of them

Time for transparency.

We invite Ken Jones to confirm that there is now a need for scrutiny of the activities of Sussex police in the case of Siôn Jenkins and the other cases identified on this page.

This is an opportunity to rebuild confidence and trust. The first step should be an unambiguous acknowledgement of past errors.

This campaign is not alone in its concerns about the conduct of Sussex Police. See this site for more information.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> A bad year for justice in Sussex

A bad year for justice in Sussex

1997: a bad year for justice in Sussex

15 February: Billie-Jo Jenkins was murdered in Hastings.

14 March:Siôn Jenkins was charged with that murder.

The arrest satisfied a national clamour for a result, and took the pressure off Sussex police. The case launched the celebrity career of Jeremy Paine,whose main claim to fame was to become that he had solved the Jenkins murder.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Sussex other cases were unfolding...

  • Sheila Bowler was fighting her conviction for a murder she did not commit. On 26 February her case was referred to the Appeal Court for a second time. In July 1997 Sheila Bowler's conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal.
  • Linda Watson and her step-daughter had been wrongly charged with murder by Sussex police who, despite the absence of evidence, were pushing desperately ahead with trying to construct a case against the two women.

Two high-profile cases were collapsing. The force's reputation was very publicly at stake.

For most of 1997 and early 1998 Sussex police were simultaneously investigating the Watson case and the Jenkins case, using common systems and methods. In both cases, under the glare of media publicity, the quest for a successful prosecution was a priority.

The Watson case collapsed in June 1998, in the same week that Siôn Jenkins' trial came to court.

In July 1998 Paul Whitehouse, in his report to the Sussex Police Authority, explicitly linked the Watson case with the Jenkins case, stressing "that both were investigated with the same high degree of integrity and professionalism..."

This was reported across the county in PATROL, the force's newsheet.

  • Then there was the Gilchrist factor. Stephen Gilchrist was a solicitor whose activities in Sussex during the 1990s were known to be questionable. There was documentary evidence of malpractice. In September 1997 a complaint was lodged with Sussex police by two men he had represented earlier in the decade. Both men had been convicted of murder ; both were serving life sentences ; both had always protested their innocence .

The decision was made to investigate the complaint internally. Gilchrist was never questioned. Identified witnesses were never interviewed. Yet within a short time came the announcement that there was 'insufficient evidence to prosecute Gilchrist.'

The statement was made by Jeremy Paine.

Because the investigation was an internal one, the Police Complaints authority was not involved, and the findings did not have to be passed on. The report of that investigation has never been seen by anyone outside the force. This is alarming, considering that the Sussex police force has since been investigated 3 times in one year by other forces and the PCA, and each time was castigated for its lack of integrity and rigour.

Today, both men who lodged that complaint in 1997, Stephen A Young and Colin Waters, are fighting their convictions through the courts. Gilchrist has been suspended by the Law Society a number of times, most recently for a 3 year period in 1999.

Colin Waters' conviction was referred to appeal by the CCRC on 4 November 2003.

Something was deeply wrong in Sussex policing at that time. A Det. Supt Foster of Sussex police said in 1993 that in murder cases the pressure is on the police and they will 'do everything they have to' to secure a conviction : a disturbing statement when viewed in the light of these five cases, in which the accused have fought, and some are still fighting, to clear their names.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Jeremy Paine

Jeremy Paine

The arrest of Siôn Jenkins in March 1997 satisfied a national clamour for a result, and took the pressure off Sussex police. The case launched the celebrity career of Jeremy Paine, whose main claim to fame was to become that he had solved the Jenkins murder.

July 2004: protesting too much?

The immediate comment from Chief Superintendent Jeremy Paine following the appeal result was that Sussex police had not been criticised in any way. He barely alluded to the fact that Siôn Jenkins'conviction - till now a jewel in the crown of Sussex police - has been deemed unsafe. His reaction has a remarkably defensive tone.

The fact remains, though, that the way the police dealt with the children was criticised by judges on both previous occasions when this case has been before the courts.

It is important not to forget the prejudicial interview, conducted by police on 20 March 1997, with Siôn Jenkins' daughters, in the presence of their mother - but in the absence of the family's social worker. Ian Vinall had a statutory duty to be in attendance. He was meant to stand as an advocate, there to safeguard the best interests of the children. This was,in effect, a failure of child protection which had far-reaching consequences. At the very least, this disturbing experience was likely to have had some influence on the childrens' recollection and interpretation of events.

It is worth noting this extract from the appeal judgement of 1999, in which appeal judges refer to the comments of Mr Justice Gage at the original trial.

" 84. The judge said that it might have been better if the police officers themselves had not conducted the session of 20 March, and if matters such as the appellant's alleged deception to obtain his teaching post, and violence towards the children and their mother had not been mentioned. We agree, and would be inclined to express our concerns about this aspect of the investigation rather less circumspectly. "

The criticism of Sussex police voiced on those two occasions is no less serious in July 2004.

March 2004 :Jeremy Paine speaks.

In an article in The Independent on 06 March 2004 Jeremy Paine makes the emphatic statement " I would not have charged him with murder unless I was utterly convinced he was guilty of this crime. I remain convinced of it. "

Really ?

But then, he would say that, wouldn't he? That's been the problem all the time.

Somehow, though, his comment has a hollow ring to it.

The Gilchrist connection.

Stephen Gilchrist was a solicitor whose activities in Sussex during the 1990s were known to be questionable. There was documentary evidence of malpractice. In September 1997 a complaint was lodged with Sussex police by two men he had represented earlier in the decade. Both men had been convicted of murder ; both were serving life sentences ; both had always protested their innocence .

The decision was made to investigate the complaint internally. Gilchrist was never questioned. Identified witnesses were never interviewed. Yet within a short time came the announcement that there was 'insufficient evidence to prosecute Gilchrist.'

The statement was made by Jeremy Paine.

Because the investigation was an internal one, the Police Complaints authority was not involved, and the findings did not have to be passed on. The report of that investigation has never been seen by anyone outside the force. This is alarming, considering that the Sussex police force has since been investigated 3 times in one year by other forces and the PCA, and each time was castigated for its lack of integrity and rigour.

Today, both men who lodged that complaint in 1997, Stephen A Young and Colin Waters, are fighting their convictions through the courts. Gilchrist has been suspended by the Law Society a number of times, most recently for a 3 year period in 1999.

Something was deeply wrong in Sussex policing at that time. A Det. Supt Foster of Sussex police said in 1993 that in murder cases the pressure is on the police and they will 'do everything they have to' to secure a conviction : a disturbing statement when viewed in the light of these five cases, in which the accused have fought, and are still fighting, to clear their names.

On 4 November 2003, Colin Waters' conviction was referred to appeal by the CCRC .

Two convictions for murder in Sussex were referred to appeal by the CCRC in 2003: those of Siôn Jenkins and Colin Waters. There is a common factor: Jeremy Paine.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The Richard Watson Murder

The Richard Watson Murder

Fewer than 10 weeks before the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins, there had been another high-profile murder in Sussex. Richard Watson was shot dead as he arrived home from work.

Within two hours, Sussex police had identified a plausible suspect, only to let him go and instead arrest and prosecute the bereaved family members at the scene. This is the full story of that case.

On Tuesday 10 December 1996, businessman Richard Watson was murdered as he arrived home from work. The killer - ruthless, efficient, dressed in balaclava and jogging bottoms - shot him twice and then ran off. He was assumed to have been a professional hitman.

The case attracted considerable attention. Media interest leapt several notches, however, when the arrests were made. Linda Watson, Richard's wife, was a former model and one-time Miss Scotland runner-up. On 17 July 1997, she was detained at Gatwick airport. Simultaneously, her 21-year-old daughter, Amanda London-Williams, was arrested walking down Old Steine in Brighton. They were jointly charged with murder.

It was alleged that they had commissioned the crime and then concealed the gunman on the first-floor balcony, from where Richard could be shot.

The trial was set for Monday 8 June 1998 at the Old Bailey. However, at 5.35pm on the Friday beforehand, a brief fax arrived at the offices of Knights, Amanda's solicitors in Tunbridge Wells. It read:

No evidence will be offered by the Crown in the case against your client.

Instead of the trial starting, it was formally abandoned. Of course, the women were relieved; they were also very angry. From the moment of the murder, they had suffered a lengthy and harrowing ordeal. For twelve months, the most damaging rumours had swirled around them. Now, they were suddenly deprived of their day in court, and their opportunity of rebutting the innuendo. In fact, they realised that almost no one knew the full story.

EastEnders was just starting when the telephone rang at Larches Farm House, Holtye Road, East Grinstead, in Sussex. Amanda turned the sound down and went to take the call. Robert Gater, her boyfriend, was calling from their flat in Chelmsford, asking how to cook mussels. Amanda wasn't quite sure, but said her father would be home imminently and he would be sure to know.

When she returned to the lounge, she heard the distinctive engine of her father's TVR Chimera sports car. She heard him stop, open the five-bar gate and then drive down to the garage. She heard his footsteps along the path towards the front door. Then she heard something awful: "a loud sound which I can only describe as being like a firecracker"; and her father's voice, "No, no, not again!"

There was another loud bang. She pulled back the curtains and saw, clearly illuminated by the security lights, a man wearing a black balaclava and holding a shotgun. Fearing that she would be seen, she dropped the curtain and ran to the phone, crying, "Oh, mummy, something is terribly wrong, there's a man outside with a gun".

Linda, preparing dinner in the kitchen, had not heard her husband return home. As Amanda dialled 999 and asked urgently for an ambulance, there was, admittedly, confusion. In their instantaneous panic and anxiety, the women failed to make themselves properly understood to each other, let alone to the emergency services. They became exasperated by what appeared to be the obtuseness of the operator in taking down elementary details and in demanding to know what precisely was wrong. Linda, who had quickly seized the phone, did not actually know.

After some minutes, Amanda unlocked the French windows and went out on to the balcony. She saw her father lying motionless on the ground. She went to make ever more frantic phone calls. Having lost patience with the emergency services, Linda was instead calling friends. She rang Jane Daniels ("I could tell from the tone in her voice", she said, "that Linda was terrified") and asked her husband, Colin, to come over. Having despatched Colin, Jane herself rang 999. She was told the police were already aware of the incident.

Colin arrived to find the telephone in continual use, with Linda shouting into it, "Why aren't you here?". He took the phone, and explained that they urgently needed police and an ambulance.

Robert's father, Ian Gater, having been summoned by Amanda, got there next, at six minutes past eight. He expressed disbelief that no emergency vehicles had arrived. "How can they not be here?", he said, "there's a police car parked just down the road". Linda said desperately, "Ian, please go and get him".

He drove back, only for the police officer to tell him that they were aware of the incident, but he was under orders not to leave his position.

When he returned, Linda, utterly distraught, said, "Please go and help Richard". He went to the body, saw the gaping hole in the neck and lower jaw, and knew nothing could be done. He briefly consoled Linda, before walking back to the top of the drive to try to hasten the arrival of the police and ambulance.

The next car, however, brought his wife, Bernadette, and daughter, Sally. They, too, found it incredible that no official help was arrived; they had just passed two police cars and an ambulance parked at the junction of Holtye Road and Shovlestrode Lane. Bernadette used her mobile to make yet another 999 call.

Then, a taxi arrived, bringing Bob Collins, another friend. They straightaway asked the driver to go back and get assistance. "We never saw him again", Ian Gater said, "the police wouldn't allow him back".

At last, a doctor's emergency car, its green light visible, pulled in to the drive. "We beckoned him in", said Gater, "but he immediately reversed out and drove off."

Colin Daniels called them all back in to the house to help Linda and Amanda. Linda, in absolute distress, was saying, "Is he still there? Is he in the ambulance? Oh, please God, cover him up". Gater went outside to cover the body with a duvet. He was sadly contemplating his friend's body, when, finally, the police arrived.

"I saw the caps come over the wall", he recalled. "They were armed, they yelled at me to get into the house."

It was by then 8.35, 50 minutes after the first 999 call was made. The police station was two or three minutes away from Larches Farm; the hospital was slightly nearer.

"The police were there before us", explained Gater, "but apparently the risk was too great for them. They told us they didn't want another Hungerford. But they allowed us, the public, through."

"Really, I'd have done better to phone the Fire Brigade", commented Amanda, "they'd have come straightaway".

The armed response officer who was the first to enter the house asked for a glass of lemonade. "He had no idea who I was, or who Mum was", said Amanda. The first CID officer to arrive inquired, almost casually, "Is that the landlord lying outside?" Amanda recalled, "Mummy just screamed at him, 'No, that's my husband, her father'. The eyes rolled to the back of his head, and he went, 'Oh, shit'".

Linda clearly recalls the awfulness of events as they unfolded. "When the police did arrive, we'd told them so many times on the telephone who we were, who Richard was, whose house it was. But they came in they just started asking these questions all over again. It was total chaos."

Later, under armed escort, Linda and Amanda were taken from the house to the nearby Copthorne Hotel. They were joined there by other family members. They all stayed together in one room. It was a long and miserable night.

Linda Millar was born in Glasgow in 1954 into what she describes as "a good working-class family" and seemed destined for a glamorous career from the start. Working as a model, she did promotions for local businesses, British Rail, a television ad for the Royal Bank of Scotland and a calendar for Grant's whisky.

Entering beauty contests was, in those days, a natural career move. "We only did that to supplement our income", she explains, "You won hardly anything, but the more titles you won, the more somebody wanted you to promote their products."

She became Miss Arbroath and was then runner-up as Miss Scotland. John Player's - the cigarette company - used her in their promotional events for motor-racing and golf tournaments. She met Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill - and the multi-millionaire international sports agent, Mark McCormack.

"We got on incredibly well", she recalls. "I suppose a lot of people in that position are used to people fawning over them. I think the reason we got on well was because I didn't really know who he was. I just talked to him naturally. When he asked me out, I said, 'I'll think about it'. He would have been 40, he'd just split up with his wife; I was 17. He was planning to buy a house in London, and asked me to go down with him. But I didn't.

"When I was charged, the press made me out to be someone who was only interested in money and glamour, but if I'd wanted all that I could have had it on a plate. I turned it down. I married for love. I married Brian London-Williams, a struggling cabaret artist whom I had to go out to work full-time to support."

For a time, Linda and London-Williams featured regularly in the Scottish press. Amanda was born in 1975 and the family moved south when he was offered the prospect of a record contract, but it didn't work out. By 1979 the marriage had broken up and London-Williams went off to try his luck in the United States.

Linda knew of a dance school for Amanda in East Grinstead, so they moved there. At school, Amanda became friendly with Emma and Catherine Watson, so enabling Richard and Linda to be introduced through their children. Within ten days of their meeting, they were talking of marriage.

Richard Watson was born in Surrey in December 1941. (His father, Sylvester, who still lives in the area, was for many years chief engineer at the BBC.) Richard attended Caterham School, but his talents were practical rather than academic. His first love was motor cars. Having passed his driving test the day after his 17th birthday, he went off to work for Ford's at Dagenham.

He subsequently became interested in computers, and worked for a company which was absorbed into Memorex. There, he rose to become managing director of sales, earning a good salary and handsome bonuses. He enjoyed a prosperous lifestyle, and moored his cabin cruiser in Chichester harbour.

He had two children, Julian and Charlotte, by his first marriage, which was dissolved in 1969. Afterwards, there was some friction between him and his ex-wife; Julian remembered his father driving to Macclesfield to be able to see him and his sister for 20 minutes, and then driving straight back to Surrey.

In 1970, Watson married his second wife, Sue. They had two daughters: Emma, born in 1975 and Catherine, in 1978. In 1982, they purchased Larches Farm House, which Richard himself converted from flats into a spacious, five-bedroomed house. When Sue went off with another man, Richard obtained a Care and Control Order for his daughters.

The reception for his third wedding, to Linda, was held at the Gatwick Hilton on 6 December 1986. Afterwards they honeymooned in France. Larches Farm was a lively family home. Of Richard and Linda's five children, only Charlotte never lived there. Julian moved out and qualified as a solicitor, Emma went on to college, Catherine to university in Coventry and Amanda completed a course with Ballet Rambert.

In 1987, Richard was made redundant, although the redundancy package enabled him to set up his own company, Trafalgar, to build and renovate mainframe computer systems. The first few years, in the teeth of the recession, were hard work but, with the support of all the family, Richard turned the business round. By 1993, he was making international contacts and seeing a 1 million annual turnover. Even so, he found it impossible to delegate; despite the nature of the business, most of his company's affairs were stored not on computer but inside his head.

Although their friends all attested that the marriage was solid, there were inevitably ups and downs. "Dad and Linda had fall-outs like any normal couple", explained Julian, "but I think they loved each other very much." In 1991, there was a major row, which prompted Linda to see a solicitor about a divorce. Almost exactly five years later, in June 1996, there was another, which led to Linda seeing the same solicitor about the same issue. Neither of them mentioned the previous visit.

The marriage was under strain in two respects. Firstly, in those pre-Viagra days, Richard's sexual drive had waned. Secondly, Linda had become concerned about the estate. She had been told, by an indelicate financial adviser, that, legally, she didn't own a penny herself. She realised that, should Richard die suddenly, not only would her own financial position be precarious but the legacies for all the children would be very muddled.

The difficulties were soon resolved. Linda believed that all who had contributed to the success of the company should benefit in the event of Richard's death. He agreed to make a will, and also to seek medical advice over his lack of libido.

Although he did seek medical advice, he never did make a will. "Somehow it appeared not to matter so much", explained Jane Daniels, "once Linda had received Richard's assurance about how much she meant to him." On 17 July, Linda wrote to the solicitor, explaining that the problems had been resolved. On 1 August, she found a new Saab convertible in the driveway, a handsome present from her husband. Arrangements for the will were agreed in principle but, at Linda's suggestion, deferred and pencilled in to sort out in the New Year.

Linda had booked a trip on the Orient Express as a surprise for Richard's birthday on 14 December. At the beginning of the month, they had a few days together in Paris. Amanda agreed to stay overnight while Richard and Linda were returning; she would help out the following day with the weekly ballet class that Linda ran, and with wrapping the Christmas presents.

In the evening, Amanda bought her supper from a local Chinese restaurant and, during the night, was violently ill. She had a form of seizure, and seemed to stop breathing. The doctor advised that such reactions were not uncommon in cases of serious food poisoning, but Amanda ended up staying at Larches Farm while she recovered. Without that Chinese takeaway, she wouldn't have been there the night that Richard was murdered.

In the wake of Richard's murder, it was not difficult for the family to suggest possible lines of inquiry. There had been a number of suspicious incidents over recent months, both at the house and the office.

In November 1995, a car with two men in it had pulled in at the top of the drive. The men then stared towards the house. Richard went out, spoke to them for a time, and then the car drove off. When Richard returned, he'd said the men had "just broken down". A likely story.

Then, there were two strange break-ins at Trafalgar's offices in East Grinstead. Some months after that, Watson, looking out of the office window, noticed a man acting suspiciously, walking up and down the light industrial area, talking into his mobile phone and apparently taking in car registrations. He seemed to jot down Richard's distinctive number-plate [P30 TVR]. He then got into a transit van and drove away.

Then, on 18 November 1996, as Richard was locking up, he was attacked from behind with a stun gun by two men in balaclavas, who knocked him to the ground. Although carrying a large amount of cash, he was not robbed. Local people chased the men off.

Watson tried to pass it off with feigned bravado, but it clearly disturbed him. "I know the stun-gun attack shook him up more than he admitted", Linda revealed. "A few days later I noticed that he'd placed an airgun just under the bed. I didn't draw his attention to it, because I didn't want him to think that I thought he was frightened. But I could tell that the incident had made him concerned for his safety."

(A number of Richard's friends believe that had the stun-gun attack been adequately investigated, then the murder would never have happened. )

There were, initially, three particular theories about why Richard had been killed. The first concerned Russia. Watson won a contract to supply the computer library system of the Moscow telephone exchange. Negotiations were not easy. Richard and Linda went to Moscow and were escorted everywhere by armed guards. They in turn entertained their Russian clients at Larches Farm, and took them sight-seeing in London. Richard sent out engineers to install the equipment. He inserted a chip in the computer which would enable him, in the event of the full payment not being made, to disable the system from England. At the time of the murder, there was about 40,000 outstanding on the deal, and he was pressing them for payment. In the current anarchy of corporate transactions in Moscow, businessmen have been killed for far less.

Richard had also invested 100,000 as an unsecured loan in a high-risk speculative project. He was thrilled at the idea of moving into venture capital, and told all his friends about his investment.

The idea was to produce electricity from chicken litter. Both Conservative and Labour administrations encouraged the production of energy from renewable sources, and accordingly offered attractive inducements. If the scheme worked, the resulting electricity would be sold to the national grid at a favourable price.

Unfortunately, there seemed little possibility of this scheme working. This was partly because a rival venture outside Scunthorpe had got there first, but mostly because of the dishonesty of Watson's contacts. Documentary evidence now available proves that Richard's investment was not used as capital for the business. 60% went to pay off accumulated debts; the rest was transferred, within three days, into two personal bank accounts.

Although Watson never knew this himself, he certainly began to suspect as much. Remarkably, though, he might have put even a loss of this scale down to experience. It would have been personally wounding for him to have raised the issue; he'd have been embarrassed to be publicly revealed as quite such a sap.

In the end, however, even his considerable patience was tried too far. He learned that the company's entire assets (basically, the intellectual property in the scheme itself) had been transferred to a second company. The original company was then put into administration. He was cut out of the deal.

Also, notwithstanding their duplicity, the directors were still trying to coax further funds out of him, merely to pay the six-monthly administration charge. If the original company went into receivership, then not only would the fraud come to light, but the whole enterprise would be scotched. Whether the scheme was actually going to work, or whether it was just going to fritter away millions of pounds' worth of subsidy from the Department of Energy, was immaterial. While the company remained in business, it was technically worth about 18 million, and there was a chance, however remote, of millions being made from the scheme. If the company folded, then everything was lost.

The day after the stun-gun attack, Richard had a conference call with these contacts and created quite a scene in the office. "He became more and more verbally aggressive," explained one of Trafalgar's employees. "He was furious. His voice got louder and louder. He was literally shouting down the telephone and pounding his fists on the desk."

He added that Richard was normally a mild man, and this was the only time he had ever witnessed a display of such anger.

Richard contacted the administrators, and let it be known that at the next opportunity he would be pulling the plug on the whole affair. The next opportunity was a court hearing scheduled for Thursday 12 December. So what, in the event, kept the venture afloat was Richard's murder 36 hours earlier.

The third theory of a motive for the murder concerned the break-ins at Trafalgar, as a result of which an East Grinstead man was arrested. It was a simple matter, really. The burglar had dropped a set of keys. When the police found out whose front door they opened, they'd got their man. He was in possession of Richard's brief case, which was one of the few items stolen. He was due to stand trial in January 1997. Richard, of course, was a central witness against him.

The man was an obvious suspect for the murder. While Linda and Amanda were still detained at the scene, police arrived at his flat. There, they discovered that he was in possession of trainers and jogging bottoms, and also a balaclava. He had no alibi, he refused to answer any questions, and his clothes were in the washing-machine. He'd got convictions for possession of firearms.

So from this unusually rich array of possible leads, which course did the police choose to concentrate on?

None of them. They focused their enquiries on the murdered man's widow and her 21-year-old daughter.

On the day after the murder, at the Copthorne Hotel, Linda was interviewed. "I think that twelve hours of being questioned directly after your husband's murder is excessive", she commented, "but I was just so anxious to help and find Richard's killer that I went along with it."

Her main concern was for her daughter. "When I did see her, she was like a zombie. She couldn't talk. The police couldn't understand why I was so angry because of the way they were treating Mandy."

Because of Amanda's state, a doctor asked a psychologist to attend. He waited downstairs for four hours that day, and returned the following day and spent another two hours waiting; but he did not see her until late on the second day, when he felt her state of distress was such that there was nothing he could do.

One of the first immediate problems simply concerned the way she addressed Richard. "I had twenty minutes of arguing with the police," she said, "because I called him 'Daddy'. They said, 'You can't call him Daddy because he was your stepfather.' I said, 'No, he was my Dad'. So this went on and on. There was no way I was going to call him 'Richard'."

The incipient tension between the two bereaved women and the police was undoubtedly exacerbated by Linda's straightforward Scottish manner. She believed that if the force had responded to the emergency more promptly, the family would have been spared some of their subsequent trauma and the gunman could have been apprehended

"I came unstuck with the police straightaway", conceded Linda, "because I criticised them. I know now that they don't like criticism, and they don't like strong women, so I was unpopular on both counts.

"About a week later, at Emma's house, I had a huge argument with them about they way they'd handled it on the night. They told me that there was an internal investigation underway, but that 'we're not going to be able to give you any answers'.

"The next major argument I had with them was at the end of the month", recalled Linda. "The police had been in Richard's office for three weeks, looking through everything, and I asked specifically if it was all right for us to go in. They said, 'Yes, we've finished'.

"Emma, Mandy and I went in. I took away some photographs, the girls took some papers. Then I was confronted with a deputation of four senior officers, asking what right I had to do that. They said they hadn't finished searching. One of them tore into me. I said, 'I asked, and was told it was OK'. I added, 'If I'd been in charge of the investigation, the first place I'd have looked would have been the desk of the man who was killed'. When we went in, Emma found Richard's diary, with names and addresses. She handed it to the police, saying, 'Don't you want this? Isn't it the kind of thing that's terribly important?' But they'd missed it.

"The other thing which didn't help", continued Linda, " was that I asked them to get outside assistance from the Metropolitan Police. They didn't seem to have any idea of how to go about the investigation. I didn't think they were up to the job."

A further conflict concerned a televised appeal which the police wanted Linda to make. Linda, both because of her grief and because she realised that such appeals are frequently police devices to entrap those making them, would not agree. She eventually did so, but only with great reluctance.

The women also deplored a subsequent Crimewatch reconstruction, which, at a critical point, used a Volkswagon instead of a Ford. Amanda is still baffled. "How is that going to jog anyone's memory if they're showing the wrong car?"

The police learned that, one January night, Linda quizzed Colin Daniels about aspects of the murder, such as where the body had lain. Seemingly believing that she was trying to "get her story straight", the police went back to Daniels and asked him to make a statement about this. He did so, but insisted on making the context clear: "None of these events was suspicious, it all happened naturally and was a genuine interest in what had taken place".

Nevertheless, police suspicions were intensifying. Linda sold the house (she could never live there again after the murder) and moved into a new home. Almost immediately, on 5 March, they were arrested. By this time, they'd been told repeatedly the police lacked the manpower to pursue particular lines of inquiry; so they were surprised that it took no less than 14 officers to accomplish the less than exacting task of arresting two docile women.

At this point, they were able to get legal advice. Fortunately, both were represented by first-class lawyers: Linda by Chris Lewis and Amanda by Jeff Hide. The latter was deeply shocked when he first met his client in custody at Haywards Heath.

"I saw this 21-year-old girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes, very slim, very frail, in a state of near collapse, shaking, crying, very scared. Throughout the five days of interviewing, the doctor had to be called on at least three occasions - she was having nosebleeds, she was shaking uncontrollably, unable to stop crying. Yet she insisted on answering questions because the one thing she was absolutely sure about was that she wanted the police to find her father's murderer."

Chris Lewis arrived at East Grinstead to see his client. "When I got to the police station", he recalled, "I didn't get to see Linda straightaway. I was given a briefing package by the police, which is quite unusual. They briefed me for a couple of hours, giving me a run-down of why they'd arrested Linda, which was essentially differing accounts between her and Amanda, the 999 calls and the trajectory of the shots. They also showed me Polaroid photographs of the body.

"Having digested all that, I went down to see Linda in the cells. She just struck me straightaway as a terrified, innocent woman. She was absolutely confused about why on earth it was her who was under arrest in a police station."

She was questioned over three days. "It was all about the marriage, the family background and the business", explained Lewis. "It wasn't getting us anywhere in terms of a murder enquiry, but she was content to answer the questions. She had nothing to hide."

There are 400 pages of transcripts of interviews with her. Any innuendo, however malicious, however false, had to be answered:

Interviewer: As a result of Crimewatch, we had people ringing in saying that you were having an affair at the time of Richard's death? Linda: No, no, never. As anyone who knows me will know, I could not have an affair while I was still married. What is strikingly obvious to me is that I have lost everything and that somebody is trying, or has succeeded actually, in destroying me, because I lost the man I loved, I lost our home, because I could never go back there. My whole life has been wiped out. If you wanted to hurt me, there were two things you could have done, and that would have been to take Richard away [and] to take Amanda and, with the pain and agony that Mandy's gone through, they've done it. No matter what happens from here, I have lost everything.

It was suggested to Amanda that if she'd acted differently on the night, her father could possibly have been saved. She was informed that the marriage of her mother and father was a total sham. She was told: "In the light of the knowledge that your father was having a relationship with another woman..." There was no such 'knowledge'. None of this was true. Amanda considered that the misinformation fed to her during the interviewing greatly exacerbated the trauma of the situation.

Throughout the questioning, Linda and Amanda each asserted their complete innocence over and over. In the short term, they made their point; they were released without charge. In the longer term, their protestations were unavailing.

Finally, the body was released for cremation. "I knew that in Scotland if there's been a death in suspicious circumstances, you're not allowed to cremate the body", said Linda. "So I asked the police, I said, 'Is it all right?' and they said, 'Yes, go ahead'." Richard's funeral was finally held on 24 May.

The next month, i>Cosmopolitan carried a feature entitled Prime Suspects, about tearful relatives making televised appeals who turn out to be guilty themselves. It gave four examples of those awaiting trial. Two of these were Siô Jenkins and Miles Evans (both of whose cases are now regarded by some as miscarriages of justice). Curiously, a third was Linda Watson, who was not awaiting trial for anything. She took legal advice about defamation, and was also obtaining counsel's opinion about whether they had a case for wrongful arrest. Then, she and Amanda were suddenly re-arrested.

It became clear that, having released them three months earlier, the police had continued to regard them as their quarry. The women and their solicitors knew this because of the timing of the arrests. Amanda was in Brighton to consult with a solicitor about whether she had any claim on Richard's estate; Linda was arriving at Gatwick at 1.30 on a flight from Glasgow. The police could not possibly have known the movements of either unless they were under surveillance.

There were other indications. The solicitors subsequently found a note in the unused material referring to officers outside the front of Linda's house "in the L.P.": listening post. Confirmation soon arrived, in any case, when builders disturbed intruders interfering with the wiring. The builders made it plain they would detain them while they called the police, until the intruders managed to convince them that they were the police.

In view of these events, Linda and Amanda now regarded the release of Richard's body for cremation as the most despicable of prosecution dirty tricks. Linda and Amanda had naturally believed that enquiries were concluded. Obviously, they weren't; the authorities were just gearing up for their arrest. Accordingly, a key point of any subsequent trial would concern where Richard was shot from, and the angle of penetration of the bullets. Once his body was cremated, there was no opportunity for the defence to gather evidence via its own postmortem.

Following their arrests, Linda and Amanda were held in Haywards Heath police cells and then taken in separate police vans to Haywards Heath magistrates' court (approximately 40 metres away). They were remanded to Holloway prison, and stayed there for two miserable weeks while their lawyers desperately tried to arrange bail.

On the day before their crucial bail application, they were shocked to be told by a warder, "The word's come down that you're to be sent to the psychiatric wing". The implication was that they were suicidal. "Somebody had actually got a doctor to authorise this request", said Linda, "but we'd never seen this doctor."

Fortunately, human kindness prevailed and, wherever the orders had come from, the warders refused to implement them. The next day, their bail application was successful. Had they been by then in the psychiatric wing, it would not have been.

Nevertheless, the terms of bail were bizarre. Chris Lewis telephoned them at the prison, saying, "You're not going to like this." The women could communicate neither with each other nor with potential witnesses. This was an astonishing deprivation; by then, all family and friends were cited as prosecution witnesses. (There were over 400 names on the list.) Further, they were to live a considerable distance from the area and from each other, and had to report to the local police station between 10.00 and noon each day. They could not go out before 8.00am and had to return by 8.00pm. Naturally, all this would make it astonishingly difficult for them to prepare their defence.

Nor, since these conditions would last for many months, was finding accommodation straightforward. Linda opined that they may as well stay where they were while it was sorted out. "You don't do that", Lewis told them, "it's Holloway. You can't ask to stay the night."

In conditions that combined profound sadness and high farce (Amanda's cab took off in the wrong direction), they were finally freed -- Linda to go to an aunt in Bournemouth and Amanda to her grandmother's sister-in-law in Bolton -- to begin unhappy periods of purdah. The cab fares alone cost 530.

The crux of the prosecution case was that Watson was shot from the balcony of the family home. Accordingly, he must have acted with the support, and indeed at the instigation, of the two women in the house. There was, however, no evidence that a gunman had either been admitted to the house or lain in wait on the balcony.

Watson suffered two bullet wounds, both severe; the first to the neck, and the second down into the chest which caused massive damage to the heart. It was, unfortunately, impossible to determine which shot was fired first. Nor, as Dr Philip Alexander, the forensic scientist, pointed out, was it possible to say where each shot was fired from, as "it would depend on the position and posture of the victim at the moment of discharge".

Neither from Dr Alexander's evidence, nor that of Dr Vesna Djurovic, the pathologist, could the police extract information on which to base a prosecution. Further, another forensic scientist was asked to look for gunshot residue on the balcony, and reported back that there wasn't any.

Some months later, the police commissioned fresh reports from a different forensic scientist and a different pathologist. These opinions, from their point of view, were more helpful.

Dr Franco Tomei, the forensic scientist, was asked if the victim could have been shot from the balcony. Yes, he replied. Then, Dr Peter Jerreat, the new pathologist, asserted that "the most likely scenario was of the victim being shot from the balcony". It was immediately after the latter had conducted the second postmortem, on 19 May, that the body was released for cremation.

However, this method of investigation, with the Crown in effect touting for expert opinions until it finds evidence to match its theory (rather than matching its theories to the available evidence) is one that highlights the weaknesses, not the strengths, of criminal justice in Britain.

In any case, it was clear from his statement that Dr Tomei had only been asked to look at certain scenarios. Significantly, he had added, "I would consider any other possibilities which might be put to me". Also, Dr Jerreat had, crucially, qualified his assessment with the words, "assuming that the range was acceptable". For the moment, however, these caveats were ignored. It was on the basis of these new opinions that the prosecution went ahead.

But why would Linda have wanted to arrange the murder of her husband? Evidence of motive was always flimsy. The prosecution could not find even one witness to say that there were any marital problems. So the Crown theory would be that she had done it for the sake of about 12,000, which police calculated as the accumulated debts on her various credit and store cards. In fact, the amount that Linda would receive from Richard's death was far less than she could have got from a divorce settlement. There was simply no motive at all for Amanda to have been involved; while Richard was intestate, she was not a beneficiary and so gained nothing.

In October 1996, Linda and Amanda had gone to Scotland together. The prosecution intended to argue that the whole trip was arranged to recruit a hit-man.

Linda explained that she had always intended to show Amanda the area where she had grown up. Further, the defence quickly confirmed that there was no evidence of anything suspicious having occurred: Linda and Amanda had stayed at the Holiday Inn under their own names; paid with Linda and Richard's joint account card; and could explain all telephone calls and the mileage on their hire-car.

There were, amazingly, only two statements from local people relating to the time of the murder. One woman living further down the road, heard what could have been a shot; she wasn't sure of the time, but said that EastEnders had started.

Secondly, a woman who worked as an artificial inseminator was driving along the Holtye Road when she noticed a blonde girl standing on the footpath. Then she saw a man in a balaclava, carrying a sports holdall, jogging in her direction. Could the girl have been Amanda, waiting to rendezvous with the killer?

Jeff Hide located the woman who had made this statement. (It's not straightforward, because addresses of witnesses are never provided to the defence.) Even better, by dint of hard investigative work, he found the blonde girl herself. She was not Amanda; she had nothing to do with the case; she was waiting for her boyfriend. Nor had she even noticed the man in the balaclava.

The police, in fact, had already taken a statement from her, and hence knew all this. Yet the artificial inseminator's statement remained part of the prosecution bundle. She was listed as a Crown witness. Had the trial gone ahead, would she have been called, even though the police already knew that her evidence was seriously misleading?

It was because of such concerns that the defence became increasingly anxious about the amount of case material being disclosed to them. Accordingly, they sought a court clarification of the position. In October 1997, Judge Richard Brown ordered that the prosecution should disclose everything they were legally obliged to disclose within five weeks. "It never happened", said Hide. "Five weeks later, we were still saying, 'What about this? What about that?' The material was arriving in dribs and drabs."

The Crown did take out a PII (public interest immunity) certificate, enabling some material to be kept confidential. The PII is, in the main, an Orwellian concept: material which it is clearly in the public interest to disseminate is kept secret under the mantle of 'public interest'. So the content of this material remains unknown. It may well have concerned the police surveillance operation which, of course, the women were already aware of.

The prosecution had already carried out a series of reconstructions of the crime at the house. With the trial about to start, they carried out another, with the aid of two ballistics experts. It was then confirmed that, if the shots had been fired from the balcony, the distance would have been at least 50% greater than the range originally postulated by Dr Alexander. The results of this reconstruction were explained to Crown counsel at 5.00pm. Within 30 minutes, the Crown case was aborted, apparently on the advice of its leading counsel, Julian Bevan QC.

So the case was dropped on 5 June 1998 on the basis of information which had been available to the prosecution from 24 January 1997.

On 8 June, family and friends, all wearing white roses in their buttonholes to mark the innocence of the two women, attended the Old Bailey to witness the formal collapse of the case. The Daily Telegraph reported that there had been "a bitter row between the police and the CPS" and that the case had been dropped despite the "strong disagreement" of the police. In court, Judge Michael Hyam, asked by the defence about costs, straightaway granted them: "carte blanche". He said that the two women could leave court without a stain on their character.

Up to that moment, they had still been anxious. "It was very scary", admitted Amanda. "As overwhelming as the evidence was to say we didn't do it, it doesn't mean to say that there couldn't have been a miscarriage of justice.

"We were very lucky with our defence team; and I think that Julian Bevan was courageous to do what he did. He obviously had an awful lot of pressure on him. Another barrister may well have proceeded with the trial, and let the jury make up their minds."

What did happen? The likeliest scenario is that the gunman hid by the front door. He confronted Watson, who tried to make an escape down the grass bank to the garage, shouted and was shot. If the second shot was fired as Watson was already falling to the ground, that would explain the downwards trajectory. (The defence had, in fact, consulted international ballistics experts who all gave the prosecution "balcony" theory short shrift. Their expertise was, however, never needed in the courtroom.)

The story is by no means concluded. A miscarriage of justice was averted, but the experience deeply scarred Linda and Amanda. They do not believe that others should have to suffer in a similar fashion. In the months since their acquittal, they have been taking advice on legal actions.

"It wasn't simply a normal murder", explained Linda, "it was actually a hostage situation. A husband was shot dead, his wife and daughter were effectively held under siege for almost an hour. The police shouldn't be allowed to take you from that situation and interview you as if you were just any suspect."

The case now belongs to a fresh category of cases that are causing concern, in which the newly-bereaved have to endure police questioning that, because of the circumstances, can be psychologically devastating. "The further we come away from last year", said Linda, "the clearer it becomes what actually happened to us. At the time, we were so busy fighting for our lives, we didn't have a chance to realise what the police were doing to us.

"It's hard enough to have to cope with the death of somebody, especially in the way that it happened, but on top of that to be treated in the way we were, to be put under such pressure by the police, and never to be shown any compassion, and for them to do that at the most vulnerable time in anybody's life, it was absolutely horrendous.

"That's the damage that will stay with us. You can learn to accept bereavement, it's natural; but it's not natural to have to live with the mental torture that we were subjected to for 18 months. That's what happened, and it happened in this country."

Having had to leave the first home because of the murder, they then had to leave the next, in nearby Lingfield, because of their treatment by the police.

"The memories were so vivid. I'd said to the police that if they wanted to speak to us again, to let us know and we'd go along. But they chose to do what they did - to hit us as hard as possible emotionally. Within 48 hours of moving in, they had touched everything, and had been through all my drawers. It was like being raped.

"There was no way we could go back and pick up where we had left off. All that had been shattered."

Police investigations of this kind, Linda pointed out, divide families for ever, often destroying even deep-rooted bonds and leaving legacies of bitterness and recrimination. "Somebody took away my future with Richard", she said, "the police took away my past. The trauma of what they did outweighs even the grief of Richard's death."

With regard to the entire case, a spokesman for Sussex police said, "There was certainly an issue about our response on the evening of the murder. There were problems. We would readily accept that not all was as it might have been.

"There were only two witnesses available to us in the immediate aftermath of the murder, the wife and the stepdaughter. There is an urgent need in terms of the inquiry and ultimate justice to gain whatever evidence is available at the earliest possible stage. It's a difficult, distressing, unpleasant fact that that's the police role.

"The case itself is open as it always was. There is still an investigation to be brought to a conclusion."

"I appreciate they have a job to do", commented Linda, "but to do what they did to Mandy and I, they should have had some evidence.

"If someone had arranged a murder, and paid for a hitman, would they actually give themselves no alibi and be at the scene? Would I have arranged everything to the extent of booking the trip on the Orient Express and wrapping his Christmas presents, but not have arranged an alibi? And not have arranged that the will was drawn up and signed? That's the whole stupidity of it."

Bob Woffinden: 'Shots in the Dark', published in the Guardian magazine, 10 April 1999.

Update

This case led to the most strongly-worded Police Complaints Authority report there ever was. (The PCA has now been replaced by the IPCC - Independent Police Complaints Commission.)

Sussex police have since acknowledged at a formal meeting in the offices of Linda's solicitor that there was "not a shred of evidence" against either Linda or Amanda. They have also conceded that they now believe the actual murderer was the man against whom Watson was due to give evidence. If this is indeed true, then Watson lost his life because he believed in carrying out his civic responsibilities to assist, amongst others, Sussex police.

This suspect is currently in prison, serving a long sentence for another shooting. He had been paid to shoot someone's business rival - but had bungled it and instead shot the neighbour of the intended target. That man survived, but is now paralysed for life. "So had the police done their job in the first place", Linda comments, "that man wouldn't now be paralysed."

Sussex police and the CPS at present say that they cannot send this man for retrial for the Watson murder, partly because they lost so much evidence at the crime-scene.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The Judgement

The Judgement

This page:
  • gives a timeline of events identified through the judgement
  • summarises key points in the judgement.
  • highlights areas of concern raised by the judgement.

Details of the judgement can be viewed here.

Timeline:

15 Feb 1997
Billie-Jo Jenkins is murdered
16 Feb 1997
Annie and Lottie Jenkins interviewed by police on video
18 Feb 1997
PC Bruce, who attended the scene of the murder three days previously, makes his first notes about Siôn Jenkins'comments and behaviour immediately after the murder.
22 Feb 1997
Discovery of blood spattering on Siôn Jenkins' clothing
24 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins arrested and interviewed in presence of solicitor.
25 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins released on bail. Police decide to tell Lois Jenkins about blood spattering. Pocket book entry reads "Told them to feed into Mum."
26 Feb 1997
Police spend two hours convincing Lois Jenkins that her husband had murdered Billie-Jo.
3 Mar 1997

Peter Gaimster, a neighbour, tells police that on 25 Feb [a week previously] Annie had changed her account of events on the day of the murder.

Lois Jenkins tells police that Annie had volunteered more information

4 Mar 1997
Lois Jenkins gives further information to police about Annie's version of events.
7 Mar 1997
Lois Jenkins makes statement to police alleging violence by Siôn Jenkins.
13 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins rearrested and charged with deception.
14 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins charged with murder
17 Mar 1997
Police consult Dr. Bentovim, a consultant psychiatrist, and Mrs Bentovim, a social worker and family therapist. Advice given orally that Annie's thoughts had been reconstructed by her father and now need to be deconstructed.
20 Mar 1997
Police officers speak to all four daughters in the presence of Lois Jenkins. The family's social worker Ian Vinall, is not present. They tell the girls that:
  • there is strong evidence their father has murdered Billie-Jo
  • their father had lied about his qualifications to get his present job
  • their father was violent to their mother and to them.
21 Mar 1997
Bentovim report confirms verbal advice given previously.
17 Jul 1997
Lois Jenkins goes to police with more details of a conversation with Annie about events of 15 Feb.
27 Nov 1997
Lois Jenkins returns to police after committal heaing to report further discussions with Annie about events on 15 Feb.
22 Dec 1997
Lois Jenkins has conversation with a police officer about Lottie's recollections of 15 Feb.

Key Areas of the Judgement

The judgement has the following structure:

  1. Outline
  2. Summary of the grounds of Appeal There are ten in all, dealt with as five issues in the judgement [see points 5 - 9 inclusive]
  3. History to Date of Trial
  4. At the Trial
  5. The Children Issue
  6. Ruling in relation to DC Hutt
  7. Other Points in the Summing-up
  8. The Confusion Issue
  9. The Fresh Evidence Issue
  10. Conclusions

Outline

This makes it clear that on the basis of known timings, Siôn Jenkins would have had, at most, three and a half minutes in which to arrive, go into the house, commit the murder and set off with the two girls on the trip to Do it All.

The outline states that 'the blood spattering was the crux of the prosecution case'.

History to Date of Trial

This section of the judgement includes the statement that Siôn Jenkins was the last known adult to see Billie-Jo alive and the first known adult to discover her body. 'If anyone else had killed her they must have stepped into the garden to so sometime after 3pm on a February afternoon, and then disappeared quickly and virtually without trace. There had been some talk of a prowler and there was a suggestion that that at a gate at the side of the house, which was shut when they left for Do-it-All was open when they returned, but that was all.'

Lottie's statement of 16 Feb, given very soon after the murder but not used by the police, clearly stated that the side gate had been closed when they left, and open when they returned from Do-it-All. There are several documented sightings of someone behaving suspiciously in the area of the Jenkins home around that time on that date.

The judgement then refers to Siôn Jenkins' own 'untrue' explanations of what he did, construed by the prosecution to be his attempts to get his daughters away from the scene of his crime and give himself time to think.

If he was as devious as the prosecution claimed , surely he would have given himself more time by staying away from the house for much longer than the 15 minutes he was away.

The judgement then mentions PC Bruce whose evidence was challenged by the defence at the original trial because he did not record his conversation with Siôn Jenkins until 18 Feb, three days after the murder. The judge at the trial told the jury that they had to disregard the officer's evidence ' unless they were sure the appellant said what the officer alleged, but if they were sure then the question arose as to whether the appellant was mistaken or whether he was lying to try to distance himself from the murder.'

How could the jury possibly be 'sure' about the truth of PC Bruce's allegations?

This section also describes Siôn Jenkins as being 'very reluctant to take the fleece jacket which was later found to be spattered with blood.'

It is indisputable that the spattering was a) invisible to the naked eye and b) not identified as relevant evidence until a week after the murder. How can this observation of Siôn Jenkins' apparently suspicious behaviour on 15 Feb. have any credibility?

The judgement comments 'Plainly, it was most unsatisfactory' that the defence had served two reports from forensic scientists as late as 9 April 1998, when the trial was due to begin on 22 April. The defence explained that this lateness was caused by the prosecution's delay in disclosing all the unused evidence. The judgement, however, continues 'We have not investigated that issue ...'

The prosecution was not only ready to delay the handover of unused material, but then itself obtained further reports from Mr. McAughey and from Professor Southall (who, during the time of the appeal, was suspended pending investigation into his professional conduct.)

At the Trial

Dr. Hill, the pathologist, said death is 'more likely to be instantaneous' in a case like this where there has been severe brain injury. He also accepted that movement of the body could have released trapped air.

Siôn Jenkins' evidence makes it clear that he moved Billie-Jo when he found her. Mr. Campbell, the neurosurgeon who gave evidence at the appeal, emphasised that death in these circumstances would be an extended process; Cheyne Stokes respiration might well take place.

The Children Issue

At the trial in 1998 the defence claimed that the behaviour of the police in relation to Annie and Lottie indicated a plan to influence the children to give evidence hostile to their father. They did so by trying to persuade Lois Jenkins of her husband's guilt on 26 Feb 1997, and then in their conduct at the debriefing on 20 March.Their behaviour meant that the evidence of two critical alibi witnesses was being improperly influenced, and that Siôn Jenkins could not have afair trial.

The judge rejected the defence's points because 'there was no evidence of bad faith'. He further refused to infer that the police had 'brainwashed Lois Jenkins into believing her husband had committed the murder. The judgement addresses the issues raised by the defence, and concludes "There was nothing unworthy or shameful about the conduct of the police".

The judgement does, however, agree with the trial judge's reservations about the 20 March debriefing session. He expressed some concern that the police officers conducted the session without the family's social worker being present, that they referred to Siôn Jenkins' alleged deception in connection with his job, and that they raised the issue of violence towards the children and their mother. [Earlier in this section, there was reference to the fact that Lottie had already been told about the blood spattering by her mother. Lottie also became distressed by the accusations of violence against her father; she denied that he had hit her mother and left the room in tears.]

Indeed, the judgement states 'we would be inclined to express our concerns about this aspect of the investigation rather less circumspectly.'

This statement makes it absolutely clear that police behaved inappropriately. In view of this, it is astonishing that the appeal judges then assert 'They were entitled to seek to persuade Mrs. Jenkins that her husband was the killer. On the basis of finding Billie's blood on his clothing, the case reasonably appeared to them to be overwhelming. They knew she had further information to give them about the appellant..'

How could the case be 'overwhelming' when there was no motive and hardly any opportunity for Siôn Jenkins to carry out the murder? The invisible blood spots constituted the only potential evidence for the police.

How could the police possibly know Lois Jenkins had 'further information' to give them?

Where was Ian Vinall, the family's social worker, during that interview? What subsequent action was taken by Social Services?

The judgement then responds to the criticism of the judge who , in his summing up, referred to the failure of the defence to call the children as witnesses. The defence submission that police conduct had made it impossible for them to do so is rejected with the statement that '..the judge was entitled to find that if the children had given evidence which was adverse to their father, this would not have been brought about by the conduct of the police.'

In similar vein, the failure by police to use the video recordings of the children's interviews is explained in the judgement as follows. 'The prosecutor [i.e. Mr. Camden Pratt QC] was entitled to regard the accounts given by the children in video interview as confused or wrong, and therefore unbelievable ..'

To the lay observer, he might be seen as usurping the role of a jury.

Ruling in relation to DC Hutt

At the trial the judge had ruled as inadmissible evidence from this this officer because his notes were not of the appellant's words, and because he had no opportunity to confirm its accuracy. He had subsequently admitted in evidence part of the same officer's evidence from a later date which made reference to the occasion previously held to be inadmissible. The judgement holds that there was no basis for excluding DC Hutt's evidence.

Other Points in the Summing-up

The judgement dismissed these criticisms of the trial judge's summing up:
  • he failed to remind them that Siôn Jenkins' evidence had referred to the fact that he had moved Billie-Jo's body
  • he failed to deal adequately with the issue of whether there had been blood on the steering wheel of the MG.
  • he did not remind the jury that there had been no evidence of sexual misconduct despite the prosecution's allusions to 'a complex relationship.'
  • he failed to point out to the jury that in order to reach the murder weapon Siôn Jenkins would have had to pass other potential weapons much closer at hand.

The judgement asserts: 'It is not incumbent upon a judge in summing up to remind the jury of every point made.'

In such a high profile and complex case, where rumour and innuendo had been significant factors, it would seem reasonable to expect that a jury would be given as much guidance as possible to enable them to reach a just verdict .

The Confusion Issue

This centred on the confusion at the trial between minute volume and peak flow. It was not resolved and was carried forward into the summing up. The judgement acknowledges that the jury may have been misled on this issue, as the judge was, but states 'We doubt whether,even in isolation, the mistakes made by the experts rendered the conviction unsafe. It is not, however, necessary to decide this issue since we have now heard a good deal of fresh evidence...

The Fresh Evidence Issue

This section of the judgement opens with observations about the powers of the appeal court to receive fresh evidence. The possible options are identified comments explore possible interpretations of precedent. It then discusses the work carried out by Professor Denison, and its interpretation by the other experts involved. It is very technical, dependent on the fine detail of various experiments.Much hinges on the issue of the hyper-inflation of lungs, and whether the nature of any possible obstruction.

Conclusions

The judgement says 'We do not question for one moment the integrity of Professor Denison, or the validity of his experiments for what they are . But his exhalation theory does not fit the facts of this case, since it depends on the existence of an obstruction in the nasal valve. We are satisfied from the evidence of Dr Hill that the only obstruction was in the lower airways.'

The judgement ends with a review of the points which were held to be conclusive.

During two weeks of detailed submissions, the fresh evidence was deemed to be relevant and credible. In view of this, and in the light of the other disturbing facts which emerged, it is difficult to understand the statement that 'a doubt induced by the fresh evidence would not be reasonable doubt.'

Can it really be claimed that, in the Lord Chief Justice's words, 'there is no reasonable doubt about the safety of the conviction after consideration of all the evidence' ?

If so, what is reasonable doubt?

A small matter of integrity ...

November 1999: Lord Bingham, The Lord Chief Justice, ruled (on the subject of judicial conflicts of interest) that " in any matter which could arguably be said to give rise to a real danger of bias, it was generally desirable that disclosure be made to the parties in advance of the hearing".

He also stated that " where .. the facts relating to the alleged bias had been disclosed to the parties it was right that attention should be paid to the parties' wishes."

December 1999: Mr. Justice Penry Davey sat as one of the judges hearing the appeal, in spite of his direct personal involvement with the school concerned in the deception charge made against Siôn Jenkins, a charge which remains on file.

January 2000: Following failure of the appeal and the refusal to proceed to the House of Lords, Lord Justice Kennedy admitted that although Mr. Justice Penry Davey had himself raised the issue of possible bias,there had been no disclosure. Yet he dismissed as 'absurd' defence objections to that failure to disclose potential bias.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest

Mr. Justice Penry Davey, one of the judges at the appeal hearing, was a former pupil of William Parker School, the school where Siôn Jenkins was deputy head at the time of the murder.

He was a member of the Old Hastonians (the Old Boys' Association) and had maintained links with the school.

In December 1997, while Siôn Jenkins was on bail awaiting trial for the murder, Mr.Justice Penry Davey was the guest of honour at the school Speech Day.

The Headteacher's Speech Day report referred in its opening section to both Mr.Justice Penry Davey and Siôn Jenkins.It is inconceivable that Mr.Justice Penry Davey could have been unaware of the implications of the case for his old school. The emphasis was all the greater because of the highly-publicised charge of deception, which put William Parker School in the position of an aggrieved party against whom Siôn Jenkins had transgressed. Indeed, the evidence shows that the deception charge preceded the murder charge.

With his strong local connections, it is very probable that Mr. Penry Davey would have been well aware of the rumour and speculation which was rife in Hastings at that time.

These factors therefore made it inappropriate for him to hear the appeal.

When this issue was raised in court on 14 January 2000, Lord Justice Kennedy stated that Mr. Penry Davey had previously raised the issue with him, and he had considered it could not possibly prejudice Mr. Penry Davey's impartiality. He dismissed as 'absurd' the notion that a risk of bias might exist.

However, the fact that Mr.Justice Penry Davey had himself raised the issue clearly indicates that the risk of bias did exist.

It is important to note that the Lord Chief Justice had made a ruling on 17 November 1999, only two weeks before Siôn Jenkins' appeal was due to begin.The ruling cites a possible risk of bias or embarrassment to the judge as reasons for a judge to withdraw from a case.

In this case both conditions apply, further underlined by the fact that the deception charge technically remains on file.

As a spokesman from Liberty said of this event, it is vital that the criminal justice system should not only be fair, but should be seen to be fair.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The First Appeal

The First Appeal

A worrying trend identified.

In an article in the Law section of the Guardian (3 July 2001) Bob Woffinden explores the growing tendency of appeal court judges to refuse to accept the possibility of error, despite the fact that new evidence may have been presented. Instead, the judges presume they know the views a jury would have had on hearing that new evidence.This is a dangerous practice. In effect, the judges assume powers which exceed their true remit.

Siôn Jenkins' first appeal suffered in precisely this way.

The judges at his appeal acknowledged that there was new evidence which was 'credible' and 'relevant'. However,they then denied him the right to have it heard by a jury at retrial.

Details of the judgement handed down after the first appeal can be viewed here.

Siôn Jenkins' appeal : December 1999

This section outlines the arguments presented at Siôn Jenkins'first appeal against his conviction for the murder of his foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins.The appeal lasted from 29 November 1999 to 13 December 1999. The judges upheld the verdict of the original jury.

Day One:Tuesday 30 November.

The hearing began at 10.30 am, before Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Dyson and Mr Justice Penry-Davy.

Anthony Scrivener QC, for the defence, announced that there were thirteen grounds of appeal, relating to the forensic evidence and the judge's misdirection ofthe jury.

He established that there had been confusion caused by the presentation of the Crown's forensic evidence at the original trial. This evidence, vital in convicting Siôn Jenkins, was seriously flawed.

The Crown case had shown that there had only been three minutes in which Siôn Jenkins could have carried out the attack and driven off with two of his daughters. However, this meant that there was a fifteen minute period during which an intruder could have committed the murder.

Anthony Scrivener also emphasised the fact that there had never been a suggestion that Billie-Jo had been molested.

Mr Camden Pratt, for the prosecution, made a request that the new, critical evidence of Professor Dennison should not be allowed. After consideration, the three judges ruled that it should be heard before they made a decision about whether to take it into consideration.

Siôn Jenkins looked well if, at times, pensive. He was clearly pleased to see the many family members and supporters present in the public gallery.

Day Two:Wednesday 1 December.

Professor David Dennison was cross examined for much of the day by Mr. Camden Pratt. Questioning was extremely technical, dealing with anatomical detail, definitions of terms, and precise measurements and timings. Professor Dennison emphasised the need for accurate use of data which reflected the many complex variables in the evidence.

There was also cross examination of Donald Campbell, a consultant neurosurgeon and a specialist in head injuries. His wide experience of such injuries indicates it was impossible that the attack on Billie-Jo would have led to instant death. He stressed that death would have been a gradual process, during which brain function would continue at some level. There would have been abnormal breathing patterns, as a result of which Billie-Jo could have exhaled air, although even to the paramedics who attended the scene she was showing no apparent signs of life. In his view, survival could have continued for as long as fifteen minutes.

This explanation would be consistent with the original evidence of Siôn Jenkins, which was discounted because death was wrongly assumed to have been instantaneous. In conjunction with Professor Dennison's findings, Campbell's evidence has profound implications.

Day Three:Thursday 2 December.

The detailed cross examination of Professor Dennison continued throughout the morning and for part of the afternoon.

This was followed by testimony from Mr.John McAughey concerning the validity of Professor Dennison's experiments. Mr. McAughey was the expert whose evidence at the trial last year appeared to prove that it was impossible for Billie-Jo to have exhaled the 'invisible' droplets of blood found on Siôn Jenkins' clothing. Professor Dennison's 124 experiments now indicate that this evidence was flawed.

Day Four:Friday 3 December.

Forensic evidence remained the focus of cross examination throughout the day.The equipment used and the interpretation of results were closely scrutinised. There was testimony from Adrian Wain, whose 'pig's head experiment' was the source of the evidence which convicted Siôn Jenkins. On this occasion Wain was being questioned about Professor Dennison's work.

Siôn Jenkins' former wife, Lois, made an unexpected appearance in the public gallery. She took her place with the Hastings Police contingent in the courtroom. This act explicitly communicated a message which seemed at odds with her recent requests to be left to get on with her life.

Day Five:Tuesday 7 December.

The week's hearing resumed on Tuesday afternoon, with cross examination of the prosecution scientist, Professor Widdecombe. He was giving his observations on the experiments conducted by Professor Dennison. His comments related to how accurately the experiments could replicate the functions of a human respiratory system.

Before the defence cross examination of this witness took place,it was agreed that both sides would cross examine Dr. Hill, the pathologist who provided the postmortem report referred to in the trial of 1998. Anthony Scrivener's questioning elicited the fact that a number of versions of the report had been 'developed' over time, as police enquiries had continued. There had, indeed, been at least one further draft produced after the trial and conviction of Siôn Jenkins.

Day Six:Wednesday 8 December.

The defence requested an adjournment at the start of the day's proceedings. This was to allow for the completion of its response to new prosecution reports which had been introduced during the previous day. Anthony Scrivener emphasised the right of the defence to reply to the new points which the prosecution had been permitted to present.

The hearing continued with the recall of Professor Dennison, who was questioned first by Mr. Scrivener and then by Mr. Camden Pratt about the further reports from Dr. Hill and Professor Widdecombe.

The afternoon began with Professor Widdecombe in the witness box. He answered questions from Anthony Scrivener about his evaluation of Professor Dennison's experiments and findings. In the course of giving his testimony he referred to Dr. Hills' observation that 'witnesses to traumatic events do not always notice vital details.' He was briefly questioned Mr. Camden Pratt.

Anthony Scrivener then went on to summarise the range of possible legal responses to what had been heard. He observed that the prosecution had not dealt with the evidence as presented at the trial, that they had, in effect, introduced new elements. He cited a number of precedents which indicate the form a ruling might take. He emphasised the role of the appeal court as a 'court of review'; its ruling should reflect this remit, and should not be the outcome of a 'mini-trial' at appeal.

Day Seven:Thursday 9 December.

Reference was made to the forensic evidence, with points of technical detail being raised and examined further.

Anthony Scrivener then introduced the points of appeal arising from the handling of the investigation following the murder, and the subsequent trial.

Siôn Jenkins had no motive for committing the murder. Reference was made to the original statements of his daughters Annie and Lottie, in which they say they were with their father all the time. These statements were not used in the trial. Instead, much later statements, made following further contacts with the police, were offered as evidence. Police had spent considerable time with Lois Jenkins at an early stage, 'convincing' her of Siôn Jenkins' guilt. The 'welfare' role assumed by local police officers could be construed as inappropriate.

Important details had been not been included at the trial, e.g. Lottie's comment that the gate, previously closed, was open on their return. The family had been concerned about prowlers and strange phone calls for some time prior to the murder. The forensic evidence had been confused and possibly misleading.

The prosecution's cross examination of Siôn Jenkins had included completely unfounded insinuations about the relationship between Billie-Jo Jenkins and her foster father. Reference was made to the relationships between various members of the Jenkins family

Anthony Scrivener raised the possibility of a retrial as the outcome of the appeal hearing.

Day Eight:Friday 10 December.

The hearing moved into its closing stages. The defence questioned the propriety of a number of actions by police officers investigating the murder.

The court was told about unused evidence which clearly suggested that there had been a deliberate strategy to persuade Lois Jenkins that her husband had killed Billie-Jo.

Police treatment of the Jenkins children was shown to have been questionable in manner and manipulative in its effect. Two police officers told all four children that they had evidence that their father had killed their sister, and that they had discovered he had lied about his qualifications. Over several weeks they made visits to the Jenkins home to continue talking to the four children about their father's guilt. They told the children that Siôn Jenkins had beaten their mother. Transcripts of these interviews, not used in the trial, were read out in court. The children's response was to dispute the accusations of violence by their father, but this had not been revealed at the time of the trial.

Anthony Scrivener argued that there had been significant abuse of police powers in order to achieve a guilty verdict, and that a retrial was necessary.

Day Nine:Monday 13 December.

Anthony Scrivener's summing up was completed in one hour. He repeated his call for a retrial, saying that the new evidence raised at appeal must be heard by a jury.The judges announced their intention to reserve judgement, anticipating that they would give their ruling possibly by the end of the week, but more likely the early part of the following week.

The decision:Tuesday 21 December.

At 10.00 am the three appeal court judges entered court number five. Siôn Jenkins came in, accompanied by a Securicor guard. Mr Justice Kennedy made a few preliminary remarks before curtly announcing 'The appeal is dismissed'. Siôn Jenkins, was escorted away having spent three minutes at most in the court.

As the statement was made, Jeremy Paine turned, smiled up at the upper gallery, nodded in apparent confirmation, and winked at someone.Paine is the police officer whose media fame derives from his involvement with the case. His subsequent prompt performance in front of the waiting television cameras outside echoed the self-justifying tone of his comments at the time of the conviction.

A written judgement was made available.

The possibility of an appeal to the House of Lords was raised. This would be pursued in January as soon as the court resumed after Christmas.

Mr. Camden Pratt, the prosecution barrister, asked for costs to be met in full by the defence. This request was agreed.

14 January 2000

The three judges who dismissed the appeal in December refused certification which would allow the case to be taken to the House of Lords.

At the hearing Anthony Scrivener QC raised the issue of a conflict of interest on the part of Mr. Justice Penry Davey. A sworn affadavit was presented to the court.

Mr. Penry Davey, formerly Chairman of the Bar Council, is an old boy of Hastings Grammar School, now William Parker, the school at which Siôn Jenkins was employed at the time of the murder.

He has made financial contributions to the school.

He was guest speaker at the school's Speech Day in December 1997, only months after Siôn Jenkins was charged with the murder, and with deception over falsifying his qualifications to obtain his post at William Parker School.

Mr. Penry Davey had told only Lord Justice Kennedy of his connection with the school. He did not declare the facts.

In court, Lord Justice Kennedy angrily dismissed as 'absurd' the suggestion that these associations might have constituted a risk of bias by Mr. Penry Davey. He rejected the idea that this could play any part in a possible appeal to the House of Lords.

His view has provoked much concern.

A spokesman for Liberty said after the hearing: "It is very important that justice should not only be fair, but should be seen to be fair. This case raises questions about whether it is seen to be fair and that damages the criminal justice system."

Strict guidelines have been issued by the Lord Chief Justice. It is laid down that a judge should withdraw from a case if there is a real possibility of bias or embarrassment to the judge himself.

In this case, where the issue of personal integrity has had a central role, the matter cannot now be brushed aside.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Denial of Guilt

Denial of Guilt

The price of maintaining innocence.

During 2002 Siôn Jenkins made an application to study for a diploma in Theology at St. John's College, Nottingham. This was blocked by the authorities at Wakefield prison because he continues to assert his innocence.

The principal of St. John's confirmed that a place would be available; funding for the course had been arranged by Canon Stuart Bell, the Aberystwyth clergyman who has actively supported Siôn Jenkins from the outset.

The only barrier was created by the Prison Service.

This campaign welcomed the fact that this unjust restriction was exposed in the national press, in The Sunday Telegraph of 29 September 2002. At the same time we totally rejected the loaded and misleading language of the headline, which opened: "Killer who will not confess..."

Siôn Jenkins is not a killer. He has always asserted his innocence and will continue to do so.

The Telegraph article gave the last word to a prison service spokesman who stated that if Jenkins had a grievance he should make a complaint. This outwardly reasonable position conflicted with the reality of the situation.

The prison's education department and chaplaincy did not oppose Siôn Jenkins' application. Yet a governor said to him that for as long as he refuses to admit guilt (and consequently does not take part in offence-focussed courses) he would not be permitted to apply for higher level courses. He was explicitly told that there was no point in appealing against the decision.

As Siôn Jenkins himself said at the time : "This can achieve nothing more than the perpetuation of injustice."

He duly lodged a complaint with the prison authorities. It was rejected.

On 3 November 2002 the item below - Playing by the Rules? - went online.

Playing by the rules?

The Parole Board for England and Wales makes the following statement :

" A myth has grown up that unless prisoners admit and express remorse for the crime that they have been sentenced for, they will not get parole. This is not true. It is important to get the facts right, not least for those in prison who do maintain their innocence and who may be unnecessarily affected by the myth...legal precedent has established that it would be unlawful for the Board to refuse parole solely on the grounds of denial of guilt or anything that flows from that (such as not being able to take part in offending behaviour programmes which focus on the crime committed.)"

This position contrasts worryingly with the line taken with Siôn Jenkins at Wakefield.

At a Sentence Planning and Review Board shortly before being refused permission to apply for the theology course, he was told that he would not progress through the system unless he did offence-focussed courses. Siôn Jenkins had earlier stated that he was willing to be assessed for any course provided that the prison psychology department acknowledged that he maintains his innocence. A prison psychologist present at the Board said that unless he took 'full responsibility for the index offence' (i.e. admitted guilt), he would not be considered for any courses. A very positive wing report about his work and behaviour evidently carried no weight.

There was an outcry about his treatment, with representations being made to the Governor of Wakefield Prison, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and the Home Secretary.

On 4 November 2002 Siôn Jenkins was told that he had, after all, been given permission to apply for the theology course previously denied him.

Siôn Jenkins was allowed to apply for the course in recognition of his peer support work in Wakefield , teaching literacy skills and supporting fellow prisoners with a variety of written tasks.

His efforts enable others to develop their potential and prepare for a more hopeful future.

The parole Board states that it " is painfully conscious of the psychological pressure often experienced by those who maintain their innocence in prison."

It is a disgrace that Siôn Jenkins was so unfairly subjected to that pressure in Wakefield.

Details relating to this issue can be found on the Parole Board website.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> CCRC Referral

CCRC Referral

CCRC referral

On 12 May 2003 the Criminal Cases Review Commission [CCRC] announced that it had referred the Siôn Jenkins case to the Appeal Court.

Following nearly two years' rigorous examination of new evidence, the CCRC - which is an independent body - decided that the conviction might be unsafe and the case should return to the courts.

The CCRC is the independent body which reviews cases in which there is serious doubt about the verdict. Its decision in this case followed two years' detailed examination of evidence which convinced the Commission of the strong possibility that a miscarriage of justice has taken place.

In 1998 he was found guilty of a murder he did not commit. The CCRC has now indicated that his conviction should be challenged.

Now, witness testimony and forensic evidence could result in the overturning of a verdict which, over the years, has acquired notoriety both nationally and overseas. The case has become the subject of dissertations in university law departments ; many concerned individuals have lobbied their MPs, the Home Office and the Lord Chancellor's department.

Siôn Jenkins has always maintained his innocence. At last there is an opportunity that his conviction will be overturned.

A searching analysis

The Daily Mail of 15 May 2003 featured a two page article on the case of Siôn Jenkins written by Bob Woffinden, well-known for his work as an investigative journalist.

The article has its origin in the the CCRC's referral of the case to appeal ; it raises questions which have deep significance at this crucial stage in events.

In it he summarises the events of 15 Feb 1997, and challenges the assumptions on which the prosecution's case was founded in the original trial. He highlights a number of key issues which have yet to be explored:

  • The fact that critical alibi evidence was never used at the original trial.
  • The validity of forensic evidence presented at trial and appeal.
  • A credible alternative suspect who was eliminated from the investigation.
  • The behaviour of Siôn Jenkins' former wife since the time of the murder.

The clarity of Bob Woffinden's analysis sweeps aside the digressions which often obscure consideration of this case. It is presented in the context of Siôn Jenkins' intense personal sadness at his enforced separation from his daughters during formative years in their lives, and his bewilderment at the insidious hostility of Lois Jenkins.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Overview

Overview

15 Feb 1997
Billie-Jo Jenkins is murdered
14 March 1997
Siôn Jenkins is charged with murder
3 June 1998
Trial begins
02 July 1998
Siôn Jenkins is convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
21 Dec 1999
First appeal fails
12 May 2003
CCRC refer case back to Appeal Court.
16 July 2004
Siôn Jenkins' second appeal is successful.
--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Important Questions

Important Questions

1. How did the Police handle the case?

2. Why were the issues confused?

3. A fair trial?

4. A credible motive?

5. Realistic opportunity?

6. Compelling evidence?

7. An orchestrated smear campaign?

8. A Police PR Opportunity?

9. What was the role of Social Services?

10. Trial by media?

1. How did the Police handle the case?

Hastings police were desperate to make an arrest in the town, which had become the focus of negative publicity in the national press. Several murders in Hastings remained unsolved, and public confidence in the police was at a very low ebb. The police made lots of reassuring statements, but they seemed to be getting nowhere. Although they were given many leads by concerned members of the public they failed to follow up plausible lines of enquiry. By the time nearly a month had passed they were under real pressure for several reasons - not least of which was their public image.

2. Why were the issues confused?

When police announced that they had charged Siôn Jenkins with the murder of his foster daughter, they made an explicit link with the deception charge over his qualifications. Early evening television news headlines on 14 March 1997 led with the joint allegation. Widespread coverage followed in the national newspapers.

Siôn Jenkins was established in the public perception as the teacher who had lied.

The implied connection was that if he had lied about his qualifications, then his denial of murder was bound to be a lie. The connection is illogical.

Police did not follow up the deception charge - but they used it from the outset to slant the case against Siôn Jenkins. By the time the case came to trial fifteen months later the idea of guilt by association was established.

3. A fair trial?

The trial was held in Lewes, East Sussex. As the county town, Lewes is the location of the Education Department which had employed Siôn Jenkins as well as of the Crown Court where he was tried. Gossip and rumour had circulated relentlessly in Hastings, Lewes and elsewhere in the county during the time since he had been charged. Individuals connected in various ways with the legal system had not hesitated to voice personal opinions in an unprofessional way.

In these circumstances, was it really possible for Siôn Jenkins to have a fair trial in East Sussex?

4. A credible motive?

There was none. The prosecution itself was emphatic on this point.

5. Realistic opportunity?

The evidence showed that there would not have been time for Siôn Jenkins [who was actually with two of his other daughters] to commit the brutal murder and conceal what had taken place

6. Compelling evidence?

At the time of the murder the police asserted that there would have been a great deal of direct evidence to link the murderer to the scene. However, by the time of the trial, the prosecution could offer only the most tenuous circumstantial evidence and ambiguous forensic evidence [based on 'invisible' spots of blood] produced after months of efforts to link Siôn Jenkins with the crime.

7. An orchestrated smear campaign?

Moments after the verdict was announced on television, Lois Jenkins' solicitor was reading out a denunciation of Siôn Jenkins. It appeared in all the newspapers the following morning. The initial timing and content of the statement suggested that it was not a spontaneous reaction to the verdict. The campaign had begun and continued throughout the following week and beyond.

How was it possible for reporters to show copies of Siôn Jenkins' CV on television? That charge had not been pursued. The document would have still constituted evidence in any proceedings on the deception charge and in any event, application forms remain confidential documents.

Police sources were frequently quoted e.g. the Daily Mail of 3 July quoted police officers as saying that Lois Jenkins had 'always' feared her husband would injure her and that Billie Jo had been wearing some of Lois' old clothing on the day of the murder. Note that this apparent 'evidence', is given after the verdict, when Siôn Jenkins was already in prison.

In August, the News of the World published the completely untrue story that Siôn Jenkins had made a prison cell 'confession' a month after being convicted. 'Top police officers' made comments. Dept Supt. Jeremy Paine was quoted as saying the police "remain interested in any relevant evidence relating to the Jenkins case". With the accused serving a life sentence, what further evidence could be relevant?

8. A Police PR opportunity?

By the time Siôn Jenkins' trial began on 3 June 1998, Sussex Police were having difficulties with their public image.

In January 1998, there had been the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in St. Leonards, resulting in the suspension of police officers.

In consecutive weeks in that same month, January 1998, two women were murdered in Hastings. No one has yet been charged with those murders.

In February 1998 the conviction of Sheila Bowler for murder was overturned at a retrial. This case is described in the book "Anybody's Nightmare -the Sheila Bowler Story". This account reveals strange similarities between the Sheila Bowler case and that of Siôn Jenkins.

On 8 June, as the Jenkins trial was getting underway, the case of two women accused of the murder of Richard Watson in East Grinstead collapsed.Investigative journalist Bob Woffinden, who investigated the James Hanratty case , recently referred back to the Court of Appeal, has also written a detailed analysis of the Watson case in the Guardian (April 10th 1999). The parallels with the Siôn Jenkins case are unmistakable.

The conviction of Siôn Jenkins would have stemmed ebbing public confidence . In August 1998 PATROL, the Sussex police news sheet, explicitly linked the Watson case with the Jenkins case, stressing "that both were investigated with the same high degree of integrity and professionalism..." It claimed that media coverage after the East Sussex trial "reflected most favourably on the skill and sensitivity of the police inquiry". The result of the Jenkins case provided a convenient boost to the reputation of the force

In December 1998 five officers received commendations for their work on the case. One of the commendations referred to the work involved going "far beyond that which could be expected of an officer".

Could it be that their recent bad publicity explained the determination of the police to show that this time they really had got their man?

9. What was the role of Social Services?

This tragic case involved the death of a child in care. Her death, it is now claimed, was at the hands of someone into whose care Social Services had placed her.

Did the system really fail to protect Billie-Jo Jenkins...?

If Siôn Jenkins were guilty, the social workers involved would have failed over five years to recognise the risks presented by this placement.

What do the records over these years show?

What about their routine reviews?

What did the inquiry reveal?

Lois Jenkins, herself a social worker, failed to alert Social Services to what she claimed [after the verdict] had been years of her husband's brutality. If this was the case, how could she - with her professional knowledge and background - have introduced a vulnerable child into an abusive household?

In The Times of 3 July 1998 Billie Jo's aunt, Margaret Coster, is quoted as saying that Lois told her she would not leave Billie-Jo alone with Siôn. If this was the truth , how could either of these women have allowed Billie-Jo to continue being at risk?

A family friend claims to have witnessed Billie-Jo being viciously kicked during a holiday in France the previous summer. Would responsible adults really just stand by?

Such allegations are hard to reconcile with the fact that Lois Jenkins went ahead with taking on the joint legal guardianship of Billie-Jo very shortly before the murder.

...or did Social Services, in fact, carry out their job responsibly?

Billie-Jo, from all accounts prior to the verdict, had become a confident, lively teenager, coping increasingly successfully with life as a much-loved child in her foster family. Unless all these accounts are untrue, Social Services correctly discharged their responsibilities to all concerned .

At the time of the case, the distorted media presentation of the family's life served only to obscure the weakness of the evidence leading to the conviction of Siôn Jenkins.

There are two possibilities:

  1. Social Services failed abysmally to protect a child at risk, a failure which merits considerable public scrutiny and demands accountability.
  2. Social Services have been unfairly implicated in a misrepresentation of the truth in order to convict Siôn Jenkins.

Only one can be true

10. Trial by media?

Before, during and after the trial there was sensational media coverage which demonised Siôn Jenkins and presented a tragedy in the terms of a soap opera. Even the broadsheets could not resist stereotypes which oversimplified the situation and caricatured the individuals involved.

The media have undeniably played their part in distorting the facts of this case.

We now challenge them to investigate just who has been lying about what, to show they have the will to reveal the truth, and in doing so, help to expose a very real injustice.

Anybody's Nightmare- the Sheila Bowler Story published by Taverner Publications ISBN 1 901470 04. Order through bookshops (£12.50) or take advantage of a special price of £10 (Cheques payable to TDE Book Account; send to TDE, Ramsons, Maidstone Road, Staplehurst, Kent TN12 0RD)

Back to Text

Hanratty: The Final Verdict published by Macmillan £16.99

Back to Text
--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The Case of Siôn Jenkins

The Case of Siôn Jenkins

The Background

On 15 February 1997, a Saturday afternoon, at approximately 3.30pm, 13-year-old Billie-Jo Jenkins was battered to death. She suffered an untold number of blows to the head which shattered her skull. The killer left behind his weapon, an 18-inch metal tent spike, which was lying by her head. Billie-Jo was not sexually assaulted; nor was the house broken into or burgled. The doctor called to the scene said that in 26 years as a police surgeon it was the most brutal murder he had ever attended.

Siôn and Lois Jenkins lived in Lower Park Road, Hastings, with their four daughters - Annie [then 12], Lottie [10], Esther [9] and Maya [7]. They had moved there in 1993 from Bow, East London, where they had acquired a fifth daughter, Billie-Jo, a school friend of Annie's, whom they took into foster care and who moved with them to Hastings when Siôn was appointed deputy head of William Parker boys' comprehensive school.

There had been a number of incidents in the area during past months. In the immediate vicinity of the Jenkins' home, there had been 41 crimes in Lower Park Road and 25 in Alexandra Park opposite. In 1996, two young girls were sexually assaulted and two people murdered in Hastings. So the murder of Billie-Jo was straightaway linked to these other local crimes, as well as to the deaths of Lin and Megan Russell in Chillenden, Kent. Police described the attack as "vicious and frenzied" and the killer as "evil and deranged".

The house next door to the Jenkins' was derelict and had been boarded up for 18 months. "Police believe that [the killer] hid behind a hedge in the garden next door watching Billie-Jo", reported the Mirror, "and lay in wait until the family went out". Detective Superintendent Jeremy Paine said, "It would have been easy for the killer to pick the tent peg up."

From the very beginning, the murder became a high-profile news story. The papers reported that police were looking for a man with a scar or birthmark across his face, who had been seen acting strangely in the area on the day of the murder.

Within a few days, however, police attention had shifted instead to Siôn Jenkins. He was arrested on 24 February 1997 and charged with Billie-Jo's murder on 14 March 1997. He was found guilty on 2 July 1998 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has always protested his complete innocence.

What Happened (According to Siôn Jenkins)

On that Saturday, at the end of the half-term holiday, Lois took Annie, Esther and Maya shopping to Safeway's. Later on she telephoned Siôn to say that she couldn't pay for the groceries as she'd forgotten her cheque-book, and asked him to bring it for her. When he got there, they realised that he'd taken an old book with no cheques left in it. So he had to return home and go back again to Safeway's with a current cheque-book.

They then all returned home. Lottie, who'd been at the cinema with friends, was taken to a clarinet class with another friend by Mrs A, that friend's mother. Siôn and Lois then arranged that while Lois took Esther and Maya for a walk on the beach, Siôn would pick up Lottie from her clarinet class. As it happened, he didn't know where that was, so they drove round so that Lois could point out the house to him.

While Lois went to the beach, Siôn set the older children to doing household tasks: Annie cleaned out a storeroom (and, in doing so, placed three metal tent pegs, originally used to secure an old garden swing, on the coal bunker in the garden); and Billie-Jo swept the patio.

Siôn then took Annie with him to fetch Lottie, leaving Billie-Jo painting the patio doors. They picked up Lottie, and also took her friend home. Mrs A. estimated that they dropped her daughter off at about 3.15-3.20.

When they got home. Siôn realised they would need some white spirit and so, taking Annie and Lottie with him, drove to Do-It-All.

Having arrived there, he realised that, exactly like Lois earlier in the day, he'd forgotten to take any means of payment with him, so it was another wasted journey.

They returned home, and went into the house.

Billie-Jo was lying in a pool of blood on the patio. Siôn went in, crouched down beside her, and ushered the two distraught children out of the room. He examined her more carefully, and immediately made a 999 call for an ambulance. He then telephoned a neighbour. Eight minutes after the first 999 call, at her suggestion, he made another.

As the ambulance men came, he went outside to his car, and got in, momentarily wondering whether he should put the hood up as it looked like rain. He quickly went back inside.

Later, Lois was contacted and they all left home to stay with neighbours while police combed their house and garden for clues.

What Happened (According to the Prosecution)

After a day of "frustration and irritation", Jenkins returned from picking up Lottie from her music lesson, saw Billie-Jo at work on the patio doors and become instantly enraged, either because her work was slapdash, or because she was playing the radio too loudly, or for a combination of such reasons.

He therefore picked up the metal tent spike and, in a fit of uncontrollable fury, bludgeoned her to death, even though Annie and Lottie were around at the time and could have caught him in the act just by wandering in.

The prosecution could offer no real motive for him to have behaved in this way, and suggested that it would always remain a mystery.

The Crown Evidence

(A) The Major Point

The most significant piece of evidence was the bloodstaining on Jenkins' clothes.

Adrian Wain, the prosecution's forensic scientist, found 72 blood spots on Siôn's fleece jacket; 76 spots on his trousers; and 10 on his left shoe.

With the exception of one splash on the trouser leg, these were microscopic spots; none was visible to the naked eye.

In evidence, Wain said that the attacker had stood very close to Billie-Jo as he swung the weapon down on her head, thereby causing a 'mist' of blood and thus the spattering on Siôn's clothes. Wain said that, "the closer the attacker is, the smaller the spots". He also emphasised that there was "no other explanation" for the invisible specks of blood. Richard Camden Pratt QC, the prosecution barrister, told the jury that the scientific evidence was "incontrovertible".

(B) The Minor Points

There were other pieces of evidence which, or so the prosecution alleged, fitted together to complete the case against Siôn.

( 1 ) In going to buy a container of white spirit, Siôn was trying to set up a false alibi for himself, by creating a 'window' of time that would give an intruder the opportunity to enter the house and kill Billie-Jo. To support this contention, the prosecution said:

( i ) It was not necessary to buy white spirit as there was already a half-bottle in the house

( ii ) Siôn had no intention of buying anything, as was evident from the fact that he took no money with him

( iii ) He took his time getting there, taking an indirect route and going round the park twice

( 2 ) In the immediate aftermath of Billie-Jo's death, Siôn behaved in a very strange way

( i ) He seemed to assume automatically that Billie-Jo was dead - because, alleged the Crown, he knew that she was, having killed her himself

( ii ) In making two telephone calls to the emergency services, he was not clear and forthright, but vague and misleading (he said that Billie-Jo had "fallen").

( iii ) He did not check to see if she was still alive before dialling 999, and indeed did not display any initiative in dealing with her - failing to check either if there was any pulse, or if she was still breathing.

( iv ) In these two calls, he deliberately exaggerated the length of time he and the children had been away from the house.

( v ) He seemed emotionally very calm and almost unconcerned with Billie-Jo's fate while attending to Annie and Lottie.

( vi ) By the time the emergency services arrived, he had dismissed the tragedy to the extent that he considered the care of his car more important, and the ambulance men noticed him sitting in it.

( vii ) When a colleague arrived to deliver some material, Siôn again behaved in an off-hand way, and didn't even tell him what had taken place.

( 3 ) Later that evening, when leaving a neighbour's house, Siôn declined to put on his fleece jacket, even though it was a cold evening.

( 4 ) In his police interviews, Siôn fuelled suspicion by at first denying that he went back into the house at all, and only admitting he had done so after seeing Annie and Lottie's statements.

( 5 ) The police said they had no record of complaints about prowlers. It was inferred that all that was an invention of Siôn's to divert suspicion elsewhere.

(C) The Innuendo

It seems that the Crown would have liked to be able to point to some form of sexual, quasi-incestuous relationship between Siôn and Billie-Jo. This would have helped in providing some background motive for what they thought had taken place.

However, the prosecution could not do so because there was no evidence whatever to support that suggestion. The postmortem examination revealed that Billie-Jo had not been sexually assaulted, neither immediately prior to her death nor at any time during her life. In the absence of evidence, none-too-subtle hints were dropped. In his closing speech, the Crown QC referred to "that complex relationship" between them. (Nudge, nudge.)

The Case for the Defence

( 1 ) Other forensic scientists pointed out that the bloodstaining evidence was far from "incontrovertible" and, indeed, that there was another, far more plausible explanation for the blood on the clothes.

In evidence, Siôn explained that, having seen that Billie-Jo was covered in blood, he had ushered Annie and Lottie away before attending to her. He put his hand on her right shoulder and pulled her face up towards him. He then went back to Annie and Lottie, who were screaming and crying, before returning again to Billie-Jo. He felt her neck and smoothed her hair. He said, "I noticed a bubble of blood from her nose; I believe she was alive". He cradled her, putting his hand in the small of her back, under her clothing.

The defence thus argued that the blood specks on Siôn's clothes were a result of Billie-Jo having breathed out through her nose as she lay dying. She would dispel a small cloud of blood droplets, which explained the spattering on Siôn's clothes.

The Crown attempted to rebut this line of argument by pointing out that there was no 'misting' on the clothes of the neighbour or the paramedics who attended to Billie-Jo; and that the 'misting' on Siôn's clothes matched that on Billie-Jo's own jumper and leggings. Also, Siôn had not originally mentioned that Billie-Jo was still breathing.

The defence stood by its thesis. Anthony Scrivener QC, Siôn's barrister, told the Court that this was a perfectly valid explanation of the way the blood spattering had occurred. Siôn attended to Billie-Jo some minutes before the neighbour and the paramedics; so he was the one who was there when she may have been still breathing, albeit imperceptibly. This was the expert opinion of an eminent neuro-surgeon who gave evidence at the trial.

The Home Office pathologist conceded that she may have been still breathing when Siôn reached her.

Siôn did not, initially, remark on her being still alive because he did not realise until some time afterwards that she probably had been. It is clear that, against all odds, people - and children - can cling on to life in the most extraordinary circumstances. The most compelling example is provided by the Russell murders in Kent. Lin and Megan Russell were murdered, but it was about 45 minutes before a police officer attending the scene noticed that Josie Russell was actually still alive. Although a trained and experienced observer, even he had not realised that she was still breathing.

The final part of this defence argument is an obvious one. Billie-Jo was cruelly battered. Her blood was splashed around the area of the killing; it was on both the patio doors and the adjacent trellis. The killer had obviously stood very close to her. So the police logically deduced that the killer's clothing would be bloodstained. They apparently held this view with some certainty. They further indicated that there would "probably" be incriminating white paint stains on his clothing

There was a white paint stain on the cuff of his fleece jacket (which Billie-Jo earlier had laughed about). That apart, there were no paint-stains on Siôn's clothing. Nor were there any visible bloodstains. The notion that the killer could have walked away from the attack without any conspicuous marks on him contradicts not only the original police assumptions, but also common sense.

( 2 ) There was no other forensic science evidence, although the circumstances were such that, if Siôn were the killer, one would have expected a great deal.

( 3 ) He would have had no time or opportunity to commit the crime.

Points ( 2 ) and ( 3 ) are best examined in conjunction.

There were only a few minutes in which Siôn could have committed the crime. The first emergency call was timed at 3.38. Mrs A. estimated that Siôn had dropped off her daughter at 3.15-3.20. There was quite a lot that needed to be fitted into that time-period: driving home from the A's house (about four-and-a-half minutes); making the return journey to Do-It-All (about 15 minutes).

Working from those timings, the defence estimated that the time available to Siôn would have been three-and-a-half minutes, if Mrs A's 3.15 estimate was correct; or minus one-and-a-half minutes, if the 3.20 timing was accurate.

Even making the most generous possible allowance for the time available, Siôn would have had no chance either (a) to dispose of incriminating forensic evidence; or (b) to resume his normal disposition.

Someone may, in trying circumstances, lose control completely; a different personality may, in those same circumstances, maintain control and keep his composure. The prosecution theory in this case is fatally flawed because it requires Siôn to be both of those contrasting personalities at almost the same time: in one instant, of being beside himself with rage to the point of committing one of the most brutal murders of recent years; in the next, of appearing completely unperturbed and as calm as usual. He can be either of those personalities; he simply cannot be both.

Moreover, it would not be possible for anyone to compose themselves so instantaneously after carrying out such a frenzied attack.

( 4 ) The murder weapon, abandoned by the killer, was lying by Billie-Jo's head. The police were not able to obtain fingerprints from it. A number of points can be made here:

( i ) The explanation given for Siôn's attacking Billie-Jo is that he instantly lost his temper. Yet if that had been the case, there were implements that were near to hand on the table; the tent peg, on top of the coal - bunker, was a little distance away. This argued against a sudden loss of temper.

( ii ) The tent-peg, however, could easily have been picked up by someone entering the house from the back - which, again, was in line with the original police scenario.

( iii ) The tent-peg was bloodstained at either end, but not in the middle - obviously, because that's where the killer gripped it. Once again, the points reinforce each other. Why would the weapon have been clearly and visibly bloodstained but not Siôn's clothing? And, if Siôn was the murderer, he would have needed additional time to wash his hands carefully - and, again, there was no time available.

( iv ) Siôn was portrayed at trial by the prosecution as a scheming, but cold and callous man, who was capable both of such wild violence and of carefully covering his tracks. If so: why did he leave the murder weapon in a prominent position, right by the body? As an intelligent man, he would have assumed that the chances of the police being able to obtain fingerprints from it were high. Why, while skilfully eradicating almost all other traces of his involvement, would he neglect such critical evidence?

( 5 ) The children, Annie and Lottie, were with Siôn throughout, and their testimony corroborated his account.

( 6 ) A paramedic said there were two muddy footprints on Billie-Jo's legs. "I got the impression that someone had stood on her", he explained. This evidence could not be taken further, because photographs were not taken in time and the marks were lost when the body was moved; but those footprints could not have been Siôn's, as he had a distinctive tread on his shoes, which in any case were not muddied.

( 7 ) Siôn was in a state of shock immediately after Billie-Jo's death, as any responsible father would be. Professor Trimble gave evidence at trial about just what a traumatising experience finding Billie-Jo would have been. He believed that people in these circumstances cannot be expected to react entirely rationally. He was not in the least surprised that Siôn, in a state of complete bewilderment and absolute distress, should have gone to his car to pull the hood across.

Under cross-examination at the trial, Siôn explained that "my mind was spinning". He firmly told the Crown QC, who suggested that his reactions had betrayed him, that they could be explained by the circumstances: "I had Billie-Jo dying on one side of the house. I had the children on the other, crying and screaming. I was running between them. You don't have any understanding of what it was actually like in that house when I returned."

( 8 ) During the emergency calls, Siôn was asked how long he had been away from the house, he replied, "Half an hour, 45 minutes". This was just a vague answer, and was clearly not a calculated attempt to broaden the time-gap (which, in any event, he'd have been unable to do, as the start of the period could be independently verified by the ending of Lottie's clarinet class).

His first-aid in ministering to Billie-Jo may not have been adequate, but which of us, in those appalling circumstances, could guarantee that ours would be?

He said that she had "fallen", merely because he was initially unable to accept the enormity of the tragedy.

His answers may not have been strictly accurate - but nor were those of the neighbour to whom Siôn turned for assistance, and who also spoke to the emergency services. "I know I wasn't telling the truth", she told the court, "I just thought they would come quicker".

( 9 ) The 'white spirit' point is negligible. Manufacturers and retailers probably make handsome profits from all those families who purchase fresh white spirit for every new DIY venture, forgetting that some left over from the last job has been pushed to the back of the cupboard.

This was merely what had happened on this occasion. One of the defence complaints about the conduct of the trial was that the Crown produced photographs of the white spirit container clearly visible inside the cupboard. But they had achieved this by removing everything from in front of it. Some may have construed this as tampering with the evidence.

( 10 ) The falsity of the idea that, because Siôn had taken no money with him to Do-It-All he had no intention of buying anything, is readily demonstrated. His oversight replicated exactly the circumstances in which Lois found herself earlier in the day.

This notion of the prosecution's is not merely invalid; it is also logically absurd. If Siôn's plan had been to go to Do-It-All to buy himself time for an alibi, then he would have bought himself significantly more time if he'd taken money with him and actually purchased the white spirit.

( 11 ) The point about Siôn's reluctance to wear his fleece jacket as he was leaving a neighbour's house that evening is an example of how something utterly trivial can assume absurd importance in a court of law. In the house, Siôn was slightly irritated by being told to put his jacket on; when he got outside and it was cold, he did put it on. That was all there was to it.

( 12 ) There was plenty of evidence that the area was frequented by prowlers and unsavoury characters. On 4 February, only eleven days before the murder, Siôn had disturbed a man lurking in the back garden. Weeks earlier, he had spotted a man staring at the house from the park opposite. Billie-Jo herself had thought that she was being stalked. On a number of occasions, the family found the side-gate swinging open after they had deliberately shut it. There had recently been an attempted break-in at the house when a pane of glass in the patio doors was smashed and the catch forced.

Lois and Siôn were sufficiently troubled to have had security lights installed and even to consider moving out of the area. Such concerns were shared by other local people.

"A number of residents had recently raised concerns about prowlers", reported the Guardian on 18 February 1997.

( 13 ) There were other suspects, including one in particular, who was reported by a number of local people as behaving suspiciously on that Saturday afternoon. He had a known psychiatric history.

( 14 ) There is one other point about the conduct of Siôn's trial. There are a number of questionable practices in British courtrooms today. One of the most recent, and most contentious, is the use of videos.

In Siôn's trial, a videotape of the body lying in situ was shown on two television screens to the entire court.

This was a specially-edited tape, which ended with a 'freeze-frame' of a photograph of Billie-Jo - not the most recent photograph of her, but an earlier one which was specially chosen, or so it seemed, to maximise the emotional impact in the courtroom.

In legal parlance, material admitted at court should be relevant, and its prejudicial should not outweigh its probative value. In this instance, the prejudicial effect of this video was considerable.

Not only was it highly debatable whether it should have been shown at all, but it was shown a second time, when the jury asked to see it again during their deliberations.

( 15 ) In conclusion, the scenario is utterly implausible. Why would Siôn attack Billie-Jo while the other children were there and could have come in at any moment? Why would he attack her anyway? Every day children make mistakes; every day they play pop music too loudly. Their parents do not, in consequence, batter them to death.

There was no motive, no opportunity, no valid evidence whatever.

The Post-trial Smears

There is a theory about British criminal trials which goes like this: the weaker the evidence presented at trial, the harder the authorities have to work to present a convincingly malevolent picture afterwards.

In Siôn's case there was a torrent of black propaganda. The papers reported that he was "a control freak prone to violent outbursts of temper". Really? Nothing had been known of this prior to the conviction and, indeed, those with experience of Siôn in a variety of situations maintain that, even under considerable stress, he would remain equable and not lose his temper.

Most memorably, he was vilified for having fabricated details on his CV Here, the media chose to overlook two central points. First, being economical with the truth about one's CV is a practice that, whether deplorable or not, is certainly widespread, but has no rational connection with committing murder.

Secondly, at the time of his arrest, Siôn had been appointed headteacher of William Parker, an appointment he would have taken up on the retirement of the then-head in July 1997. At that stage, the details on Siôn's CV were long forgotten and entirely irrelevant. He was promoted solely on the basis of his performance as deputy head from 1992-97 and what he had achieved for the school during that time.

The Position Today

Siôn is now in Wakefield prison. His present existence is restricted, but he retains a sense of his own identity and is resolved to keep a positive focus. The regime is far from easy, but he is well and managing, to some extent, to adjust to prison life. The penal system takes it for granted that each prisoner is guilty of the crime for which he has been convicted. Its sole purpose is to help the individual to address his crime and to come to terms with it. The dilemma which faces Siôn is either to admit the crime or to stay in prison for life.

His objective each day is survival. He manages to preserve a sense of humour, his faith is steady and his spirit strong. For comfort and encouragement, though, he is dependent on those in the world beyond Wakefield, who care for him, work on his behalf, and willingly offer their commitment.

Today Siôn Jenkins remains condemned to life imprisonment. However, with the support of all those prepared to challenge the injustice he has experienced, and in the hope of liberty, he will steadfastly continue to maintain his innocence.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Chronology of the case

Chronology of the case

15 Feb 1997
Billie-Jo Jenkins is murdered
16 Feb 1997
Annie and Lottie Jenkins interviewed by police on video
22 Feb 1997
Discovery of blood spattering on Siôn Jenkins' clothing
24 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins is arrested and interviewed in presence of solicitor.
25 Feb 1997
Siôn Jenkins released on bail. He is told he has to leave Hastings.Goes to his parents' home in Aberystwth.
13 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins is charged with deception
14 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins is charged with murder and taken into custody.
24 Mar 1997
Siôn Jenkins is allowed bail and returns to Wales.
23 Apr 1997
Billie- Jo's funeral takes place.
April 1998
Trial opens in Lewes, East Sussex, but is adjourned.
3 June 1998
Trial resumes
2 July 1998
Siôn Jenkins is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
October 1998
Campaign group is formed
November 1998
First campaign mailing is sent out
January 1999
Siôn Jenkins is granted leave to appeal .
April 1999
Campaign website is launched.
July 1999
Screening of Channel 4's Trial and Error is blocked by Lois Jenkins.
15 September 1999
'Trial and Error' programme screened.
Dec 1999
Appeal is heard and rejected .
14 January 2000
Leave to appeal to House of Lords is refused .
18 Jan 2000
'Trail of Guilt' shown - giving police account of the case. .
Dec 2000
Siôn Jenkins' first visit by his daughters.
May 2001
CCRC allocate the Jenkins case to a case worker .
July 2002
Lois Jenkins moves abroad with their daughters .
Sep 2002
Siôn Jenkins is refused permission to apply for a theology course.
Nov 2002
Following publicity and protest, Siôn Jenkins is given permission to apply for a theology course .
9 Feb 2003
Lois Jenkins' Sunday Times article.
12 May 2003
CCRC refer the Siôn Jenkins case to the Court of Appeal .
July 2003
Siôn Jenkins sees his daughters for the second time during their visit to England.
23 January 2004
A directions hearing takes place .
4 March 2004
Second directions hearing takes place .
30 June 2004
Second appeal begins .
16 July 2004
Siôn Jenkins' murder conviction is quashed. A retrial is ordered .

See detailed timeline of the events in the months after the murder, as specified in the 1999 Appeal judgement.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Simple facts

Simple facts

Simple facts.

There was no motive . Even at the original trial the prosecution could not suggest any motive - apart from an inexplicable rage, of which no evidence has ever been offered.

There was no time. In the space of 3 minutes , at most, Siôn Jenkins, suddenly consumed by rage, would have had to leave the house and go round to the back to pick up the tent peg lying on the coal bunker - even though there were other tools much nearer to hand. He would then have returned to the patio to commit the brutal and bloody murder involving a minimum of 10 blows to the skull. ( The murder, it now transpires,also included the bizarre act of forcefully pushing a piece of plastic bag up Billie -Jo's nostril, using an object of some kind. This did not emerge at the original trial.) Having done this - without getting any visible blood on his jacket - he would then have cleaned himself up and completed the transformation from enraged homicidal maniac to his normal demeanour. Police at the time repeatedly stressed that the murderer would have been covered in blood and probably paint too. Somehow this vital detail ceased to matter once Siôn Jenkins was charged.

There was no noise. It is hard to imagine how such a brutal act could have been committed without his two childen, who were nearby, being aware that anything unusual was taking place.

It was stated at appeal that it was implausible that an intruder could have approached the house unobserved, entered through the side gate and carried out a motiveless attack.There would not have been time for this to happen.

Really?

In point of fact, the time available for that to happen would have been five or six times greater than the time in which Siôn Jenkins is alleged to have committed the murder.

What is more, the open side gate adds weight to this hypothesis. An intruder would have gone right past the coal bunker where the tent peg was lying.

Finally, there is evidence of someone in great distress running along the alleyway at the back of the garden at around the time of the murder.

Which of these two scenarios sounds more implausible ?

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Mr X.

Mr X.

At the appeal the following statement was made:

" As to X, there is nothing in the material before us to suggest that this aspect of the matter renders the appellant's conviction unsafe."

"It seems implausible that X could have walked from the park to the scene of the killing unobserved, arrived during the small window of opportunity in time, entered apparently occupied premises . . . and bludgeoned a girl with whom he is not shown to have any connection for no reason. There is no evidence that he killed her."

Implausible?

' ... that X could have walked from the park to the scene of the killing unobserved'

The Jenkins house faces directly on to the park. A number of witnesses reported seeing Mr X in and around the park, including Lower Park Road itself, on the afternoon of 15 February 1997, at the relevant time. He was observed moving about that area shortly before the murder took place.

' ... that X could have arrived during the small window of opportunity in time '

That 'window' has been estimated as between 15 and 18 minutes, five or six times longer than the time in which, according to the police, Siôn Jenkins manged to carry out the murder in the vicinity of his two daughters and without any visible evidence.

'... apparently occupied premises.'

Anyone watching from the park could have seen Siôn Jenkins and his two daughters drive away.

' ..a girl with whom he is not shown to have any connection '.

The day before the murder Mr X had been in Debenhams. Billie-Jo was also in Debenhams that day, choosing trainers . Staff there thought of this man as a 'weirdo'. Several times during the past week he had bought a spoon for £2.50p, and asked for a refund the following day. That Friday, he left behind in the restaurant some writings in the form of a letter to the governor of the World Bank in which he referred to paedophilia and the protection of children.

After the murder, his psychiatrist refused to allow him to be questioned by police, explaining that his client was floridly psychotic at the time of the murder of Billie-Jo .

Coincidental?

When Billie-Jo was murdered, a large piece of plastic was pushed deeply, and very forcibly, into one nostril. This fact only became explicit at the time of the latest appeal, when a scientist confirmed that the use of some kind of implement would have been involved. The behaviour has been identified as 'deranged', and such a deliberate act would have taken some time .

This evidence adds a new twist which further undermines the case against Siôn Jenkins. The prosecution claim was that the murder took place in a maximum time of three minutes. The additional time involved for this gratuitously bizarre act could not be included in that period.

These facts have been established:

  • The presence of the plastic & its use is a clear indication of depraved behaviour in the perpetrator.
  • Mr X was discovered to have an obsessive interest in sealing up openings - often with bits of plastic. He did this to block out contamination that he feared, and to protect himself from being poisoned or gased by imaginary enemies.
  • From the outset Mr X was a suspect because of witness reports of his odd behaviour in and near the park.

There is a high degree of probability that these facts are linked, raising questions about Lord Justice Rose's assertion that 'There is no evidence at all to connect Mr X with the crime.'

That being so, it is hard to understand how the existence of a credible alternative suspect would not be further grounds which render Siôn Jenkins' conviction unsafe.

Another suspect.

In March 2004 the Appeal Court ruled that there should be a further investigation concerning a possible alternative suspect, as reported on the BBC website and elsewhere in the media. The same issue has been raised by this campaign on more than one occasion in the past.

Since this latest appeal, though, the true significance of the individual known as 'Mr X' is becoming increasingly clear.

Deaf ears.

Four people have reported to the campaign that Sussex police dismissed potentially useful evidence they reported at the time of the murder or very soon afterwards.

This included a sighting of someone covered in blood and paint running up the road near the Jenkins' home at the relevant time ; noises of someone in obvious distress rushing down the alleyway behind the Jenkins' garden ; a further sighting of someone behaving strangely in that road at around that time ; a sighting of Siôn Jenkins at the time.

These concerned witnesses were simply sent away, or told told that the police already had the man who had committed the murder. One, who knew Siôn Jenkins, was surprised to be questioned about him.

How hard were the police really looking? In March 1997 their determination to charge Siôn Jenkins meant that other credible leads were not pursued.

Daily Mail - April 2004 .

A two page Daily Mail article, written by journalist Jo-Ann Goodwin, disclosed details offering a completely new perspective on the story of what happened when Billie-Jo Jenkins was murdered in February 1997. It also focused on Lois Jenkins, scrutinising her relationship with the police, questioning the allegations she has made, and analysing the nature of her undoubted influence on the case.

Sources very close to events are quoted by Goodwin. Their comments have the effect of bringing Sussex police, once again, right into the spotlight.

The Mail article highlights the way Sussex police chose to focus on Siôn Jenkins as their key suspect, despite substantial evidence about a much more credible suspect, identified, for legal reasons, as Suspect A.

The police case rested on the hypothesis that for some unknown reason, Siôn Jenkins suddenly flew into a rage and brutally killed Billie-Jo in a very short space of time. Having done so he instantly returned to a state of calm, with no visible sign that he had committed what the duty police surgeon at the time described as the most brutal murder he had ever attended in 26 years. The defence's attempts to point out the flaws in this incredible tale were unsuccessful. The police version had a persuasive quality ; logic was defeated by the appeal of a dramatic story.

However, an important fact has now been revealed in the article.

When Billie-Jo's body was discovered, there were clear indications that her death was not simply the result of a volcanic outburst of temper on the part of her murderer, as the prosecution has always asserted. Some more complex and deeply disturbed impulse was very apparent. What was found at the scene of the murder was not the work of a few seconds.

Suspect A was arrested immediately, but could not be interviewed at the time because of his highly unstable mental state. The expectation was that he would be interviewed in due course. In fact, this never actually happened.

While an outraged public was demanding an arrest, an unexpected development had immediate value for those desperate to identify a killer. The article quotes someone 'close to the murder hunt' as saying " The forensic reports came back. Billie-Jo's blood had been found on Siôn's fleece. That was it .The police went for it hook line and sinker"

There was considerable and significant evidence concerning Suspect A - but inexplicably, it was never followed up.

Instead, with the existing suspect - Siôn Jenkins - in effect as a 'bird in the hand', random details were shaped into a gratifying, illogical, but powerful fiction.

Jo-Ann Goodwin reports one 'highly placed source' as saying " If Siôn Jenkins is released, it will not be on a legal technicality. He will walk free because it has become obvious that the killer is another man."

--*--*-- **&**>BBC News | UK | Jenkins defence 'impossible' - doctor EuropeSouth AsiaAsia PacificAmericasMiddle EastAfricaBBC HomepageWorld ServiceEducation



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Monday, June 15, 1998 Published at 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK


UK

Jenkins defence 'impossible' - doctor

Billie-Jo Jenkins was 13 when she died

Claims by Sion Jenkins that blood spots on his clothes came from his foster daughter's dying breaths were "impossible", a paediatrician has told a court.

The defence for Jenkins, who denies killing his 13-year-old foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins with a tent spike in February 1997, had argued that a bubble of blood in her nose had burst as he crouched beside her.

But Professor David Southall, a paediatrician at Keele University, told Lewes Crown Court that the pattern of blood was unlike any he had seen from a dying child.

When asked to comment on the defence's argument, he said: "I have no doubt at all in my mind that I regard that as impossible in the state that she was in, with that head injury."


[ image: Sion Jenkins: denies killing his foster daughter]
Sion Jenkins: denies killing his foster daughter
He added that it was "highly unlikely that Billie-Jo could have inhaled the 2.2 litres of air necessary for her to exhale forcefully enough for the blood to spatter".

He said: "I still doubt whether she would have been able to inhale 2.2 litres with a gasp but I accept that at the very worst she might have been able to.

"It is very unlikely but I can't say it couldn't possibly happen. I am talking way out on the extremes of what could happen in extreme situations."

Asked by Camden Pratt QC, prosecuting whether such gasping would have been visible, Mr Southall replied: "Extremely visible.

"Anybody approaching a child with an injury who is gasping would be in no doubt whatsoever that the child was breathing and definitely still alive and would report that because it would be so obvious to an observer.

"It would be obvious because the observer would want the child not to be dead and would be looking for signs of life."


[ image: Billie-Jo was found murdered inside her home]
Billie-Jo was found murdered inside her home
Professor Southall said that he had seen nothing in Jenkins's statement that showed Billie-Jo had any signs of gasping or breathing.

Asked if he had ever seen a dying child gasp in the way the defence claims, Professor Southall replied: "That I don't see and have never seen in a dying child."

Asked again by Mr Pratt whether Jenkins's explanation for the spots on his clothing was a viable explanation, Professor Southall said: "I have no doubt at all in my mind that I regard that as impossible in the state that she was in, with that head injury."

A second forensic expert also backed up the prosecution case.

Russell Stockdale told the jury: "The nature and the distribution of blood stains on Mr Jenkins's clothing was entirely consistent with the results of the wearer of the clothing having delivered several blows onto wet blood and the clothing having intercepted an impact mist of blood as a result."

The prosecution say that the blood spot could only have been cause by Jenkins attacking his foster daughter with a tent spike.



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--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Who Cares?

Who Cares?

In fact, large numbers of people care, very deeply.

At the time of the investigation, the police actually advertised for people with negative stories about Siôn Jenkins to come forward. Their efforts were unsuccessful.

Yet, over the years since, members of the public have gone to the trouble of writing letters to the campaign and contacting the website, to express profound concern about what has happened,in the name of justice, to Siôn Jenkins.

There has been a strong and immediate response to the news that the appeal has succeeded.

A selection of the many letters and email messages received by the campaign, from people with no involvement other than their belief in the need for justice.

From the time of his conviction, support for Siôn Jenkins began to grow, as people expressed their shock at the weakness of the evidence which had convicted him.

In September 1999 many contacts were prompted by Channel 4's Trial and Error programme, screened in advance of the first appeal, and an article written by Bob Woffinden in the Daily Mail.

The failure of the first appeal only reinforced public support. The screening of BBC's 'Trail of Guilt' in January 2000 provoked strong reactions. .

Over time, public concern has mounted, and people have pledged their active support .

In February 2003 Lois Jenkins' Sunday Times article caused further comment. Three months later, in May 2003, news that the CCRC had referred the case to the Court of Appeal marked another surge in communications.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Who is Siôn Jenkins?

Who is Siôn Jenkins?

Much has been written and said about Siôn Jenkins - most of it by people who have never met him.

At the time of their investigation the police actually advertised for people with negative stories about him to come forward. Their efforts were unsuccessful.

This section presents views of Siôn Jenkins very different from the propaganda of those who have a vested interest in keeping him locked away.

Some views which challenge the media stereotypes.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The wife's story

The wife's story

The behaviour of Siôn Jenkins' former wife has been a crucial factor since the time of the murder, when it had a direct impact on public perceptions of the case.

Her relationships with the police and the media since then prompt serious and searching questions.

Her efforts to silence support for Siôn Jenkins and block attempts to challenge his conviction now place her in the spotlight.

This page details important developments affecting the investigation in the nine months following the murder.The involvement of Lois Jenkins is noteworthy.

Having successfully blocked the first attempt to screen Trial and Error, Lois Jenkins submitted a complaint about the programme to the Broadcasting Standards Commission after it was finally shown.

Analysis of the full-page article written by Lois Jenkins in The Sunday Times in February 2003.

Examination of the facts raises questions .

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The campaign

The campaign

Public concern was surfacing from the very first stages of the investigation.

Siôn Jenkins' conviction triggered a dynamic movement to challenge what has long been perceived as a travesty of justice. The campaign reflects widespread anger, and is deeply committed to ensuring that this injustice is reversed.

A summary of the position of the campaign today.

There is powerful support for Siôn Jenkins

During the years of Siôn Jenkins' imprisonment some memorable situations have arisen.

Text of a letter sent by this campaign in response to an article by Lois Jenkins, published in February 2003.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The media.

The media.

The influence of the media in this case is immense. There have been some serious and responsible efforts to examine the facts. All too often, though, accurate information has been discarded in favour of the innuendo and sensationalism of the tabloid press.

As compelling scientific evidence started to be given in the Court of Appeal, a curious distraction appeared in some parts of the media.

OUtline of an article published in The Daily Mail on 24 April 2004.

The text of article called 'Why I couldn't have murdered Billie -Jo' published in the Daily Mail

Text of an article published in The Sunday Telegraph on 2 July 2000.

An account of the television programme whose screening was initially blocked by Lois Jenkins.

Immediately after Siôn Jenkins' first appeal failed, the Sussex Police's view was highlighted in this BBC 1 television programme .

An account of the complaint brought by Siôn Jenkins' legal team to the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Having successfully blocked the first attempt to screen Trial and Error, Lois Jenkins submitted a complaint about the programme to the Broadcasting Standards Commission after it was finally shown.

An account of this newspaper's regular and untrue comments on the case.

A list of media sources (with dates) mentioning the case since the conviction on 2 July 1998.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The experts

The experts

In July 1998 Siôn Jenkins was convicted of murder on the evidence of these five experts:

  • Dr.Ian Hill
  • John McAughey
  • Russell Stockdale
  • Dr. David Southall
  • Adrian Wain

In July 2004 the original scientific evidence was shown to have such serious deficiencies that Siôn Jenkins' conviction was deemed unsafe, and his second appeal succeeded.

Certain expert witnesses had an influential role at the original trial .

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The police

The police

The conduct of Sussex police in the case of Siôn Jenkins has always been a contentious matter. Today they are having to reconsider their case. From the outset their actions have prompted concern, amply reinforced over the years since 1997 by a number of disturbing public exposures.

The roles of Jeremy Paine and Ann Capon demand the closest scrutiny.

The role of the individual known as Mr X is highly significant.

Text of an article by Bob Woffinden in The Daily Mail, 10 April 1999. It documents a saga of ineptitude by Sussex police in the Watson case, which has important parallels with the Jenkins case.

Certain expert witnesses had an influential role at the original trial .

The name of Jeremy Paine has always been synonymous with the case of Siôn Jenkins.

1997 was not a good year for Sussex police.

An overview of police conduct in this case, in the context of increasing public concern, over a number of years, about the force.

Examination of the facts prompts some vital questions, detailed here.

Immediately after Siôn Jenkins' first appeal failed, the Sussex Police's view was highlighted in this BBC 1 television programme .

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">The legal system

The legal system

Siôn Jenkins was convicted of murder on 2 July 1998 at the end of a widely-publicised three-week long trial. This sections outlines his treatment under the criminal justice system since then.

His experience has been defined by his consistent assertion that he is innocent.

A timeline showing the main stages in the case.

The case of Siôn Jenkins was referred to the Appeal Court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in May 2003

An incident which confirms that there is a real cost to those who assert their innocence.

Siôn Jenkins' first, unsuccessful, appeal was held in December 1999.

A disturbing development which cast doubt on the impartiality of the process.

A summary of the appeal judgement handed down on 21 December 1999.

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> The facts of the case

The facts of the case

This section gives a detailed account of what actually happened. Events are closely examined and their implications identified.

The facts are central to any rational analysis. In the case of Siôn Jenkins, facts have all too often been overtaken by speculation.

The role of the individual known as Mr X is highly significant.

The forensic evidence on which the conviction rests is complex and detailed. There are, though, some much more obvious points which cast doubt on the likelihood that Siôn Jenkins carried out the murder.

A record of key events since the murder.

A detailed outline of the events surrounding the murder, and how those events were later interpreted.

Examination of the facts prompts some vital questions, detailed here.

Certain expert witnesses had an influential role at the original trial .

Text of an article published in The Sunday Telegraph on 2 July 2000.

The text of article called 'Why I couldn't have murdered Billie -Jo' published in the Daily Mail

--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Using this site

Using this site

For clarity, the pages in this website have been reorganised into topics.

Each link takes you to pages relating to that topic.

There is a new page: Who is Siôn Jenkins?

Technical Information

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--*--*-- **&** xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en"> Latest News

Latest News

Bail Granted

It was announced today that Siôn Jenkins has been granted bail pending a retrial.

Appeal Succeeds

Siôn Jenkins' second appeal has succeeded. On 16 July 2004 the Appeal Court ruled that the original verdict was unsafe, and his conviction was quashed. A retrial at The Old Bailey has been ordered .

Time for Justice

At the appeal, the concluding speech of Siôn Jenkins' barrister, Clare Montgomery, QC, was a powerful articulation of the need for a just end to this tragedy.

She said: " The crime was committed seven years ago and Siôn has spent six of those years in prison in appalling conditions as a child killer. He has been through a trial and two appeals."

" His arrest led directly to separation, divorce , and estrangement from his daughters. His life has truly been ruined. "

Her words resonate with a simple truth: it is time, at last, for this nightmare to end.

Much is now at stake for Sussex police over the Jenkins case. Reputations are on the line and there are those whose credibility looks increasingly fragile. No-one should underestimate the efforts which will go into resisting Siôn Jenkins' attempt to obtain the justice he has so far been denied.

Equally powerful, though, is the determination to reveal the truth which will set Siôn Jenkins free.

--*--*-- **&** lang=en xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">Expert testimony.

Expert testimony.

Expert testimony.

Adrian Wain

The attack on Billie-Jo was described as 'frenzied', the most brutal ever witnessed by an experienced police surgeon. It was stressed that the perpetrator would be heavily bloodstained. In the event, drops of blood, smaller than a pin-head and invisible to the naked eye, were detected on Sin Jenkins' clothing and were said to be the 'incontrovertible' evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of murder.

After the verdict, Adrian Wain, the prosecution's forensic expert, proclaimed on television that his was 'central evidence in the case', without which there would have been no conviction. In the absence of any motive for the crime, the verdict hinged on his findings.

Channel 4's Trial and Error showed the prosecution video of Wain's experiment. It seems bizarre and unconvincing. However, this was,apparently, what convinced the jury of Sion Jenkins' guilt. Wain used a pig's skull to simulate a human head, in order to illustrate how the drops of blood had spattered on to Sin Jenkins' clothing.

His comparison had a number of fundamental flaws. For example:

  • a pig's skull is thick, totally different in structure to the fragile human skull
  • the respiratory structures of pigs and humans are not the same
  • there was no circulation of blood in the pig's head used by Wain

Professor David Southall

The defence assertion that the mist of blood came from Billie-Jo breathing was rejected. The prosecution insisted that only forceful breathing could have produced such an effect. Sin Jenkins had never said he had been aware that Billie-Jo was breathing. In any case, her terrible injuries made such a thing seem impossible.

In June 1998 Professor David Southall was a prosecution witness at the trial of Sin Jenkins.

Contradicting defence evidence about whether Billie-Jo was still alive when she was dicovered , he said: " It is very unlikely but I can't say it couldn't possibly happen. I am talking way out on the extremes of what could happen in extreme situations." There was no attempt to define or quantify the term 'extreme'. This statement is not only vague ; it is misleading.

He then went on to assert "Anybody approaching a child with an injury who is gasping would be in no doubt whatsoever that the child was breathing and still alive and would report that because it would be so obvious to an observer. "

This statement is simply not true. There are well - documented examples of medical experts mistakenly confirming death. It is patently not obvious , especially in an extreme situation, whether someone is alive.

Professor Southall, though, underlined his assertion by adding " It would be obvious because the observer would want the child not to be dead..."

It is remarkable that this completely illogical statement was viewed as credible expert testimony at the time of the trial.

It is alarming that opinion, rather than fact, can determine the course of justice.

In June 2004 Professor David Southall appeared before the conduct committee of the General Medical Council. The hearing began on 7 June 2004. The verdict of the GMC is expected in August.

First appeal: prosecution experts challenged.

The prosecution's scientific evidence has since been discredited by the results of the experiments carried out, prior to the first appeal, for Channel 4's Trial and Error by Professor David Dennison, an expert in the heart and lungs,and an eminent scientist. His rigorous testing, clearly captured on film, is a glaring contrast to Wain's crude exercise as demonstrated in the prosecution video. Professor Dennison's experiments were minutely documented with the aid of slow motion photography which can bear the closest scrutiny.His findings were consistent and clearly verified.

His conclusions were reinforced by the testimony of James Palmer, a neurosurgeon, who explained that even when it has suffered massive injury, there is a tiny part of the human brain which can continue to sustain breathing, however faint and irregular. Billie Jo's injuries were consistent with this having happened.

Professor Dennison's fastidious research offered conclusive proof that a tiny, inaudible breath can cause two or three drops of blood to produce two thousand droplets. The high speed cameras revealed a consistent pattern, matching the drops found on Jenkins' clothing. In fact, the victim would not even have needed to be alive for this to happen. By raising Billie-Jo's shoulder as he did, Sin Jenkins could have caused a minute amount of air to be realeased from her airways, producing the crucial mist of blood.

The evidence had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Sin Jenkins had killed Billie-Jo.

In the light of Professor Dennison's work, can there still be a serious claim that the pig's skull proved anything?

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