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Hidden Evidence in case of Eddie Gilfoyle
By Louise Shorter on 01/08/12Share:
From Inside Time August 2012
Eddie Gilfoyle’s bid to clear his name continued to draw press attention last month as The Times newspaper revealed further failings by Merseyside Police writes Louise Shorter.
The Crown Prosecution Service has just released police notes kept hidden for 20 years which challenge the safety of Eddie Gilfoyle’s conviction for murdering his heavily pregnant wife in 1992. The Times, which has campaigned for this case to be returned to the Court of Appeal since 2008, had previously attempted to gain access to these notes under the Freedom of Information Act but had been told they did not exist or were irrelevant. The newly recovered files disclose that an internal review carried out by Merseyside Police concluded that, potentially, evidence was destroyed: ladders beside the body were moved, the corpse was cut down before CID arrived, no photographs were taken and the noose was incinerated. Matt Foot, Eddie Gilfoyle’s solicitor, told The Times “I asked for this material specifically at the highest level three years ago and was told it wasn’t relevant”. He described the police cover-up as “a disgrace.”
Eddie Gilfoyle told Inside Time “I am shocked and appalled that for the past twenty years this evidence has been kept hidden from my defence. I am completely innocent and I am sick and tired of the cover-up that has gone on Louise Shorter Inside Justice Unit at Inside Time in my case. I pray for the day when the court of appeal overturns my conviction and lifts this weight from my shoulders and gives my dignity back so that I might live what is left of the rest of my life”.
One piece of evidence found at the scene which, apparently, was not compromised was a suicide note in Paula Gilfoyle’s own hand.
However, police believed the ‘bubbly’ expectant mother would not have taken her own life and that of her unborn child and said that Eddie Gilfoyle had lured his wife to the garage before tricking her into writing the note and then hanging her.
The discovery of the recent files is not the first time suppressed material has turned up in this case. In 2010 solicitor Matt Foot discovered Paula Gilfoyle’s diaries in a locked box in a Merseyside police store which had never previously been disclosed. Inside the box were diaries in which a darker side to the deceased emerged, showing her capable of concealing her true feelings from those around her, admitting to an overdose attempt in her youth, and a kept suicide note from an exboyfriend which included a phrase she repeated in her own handwritten final note. Eddie Gilfoyle was released on licence in 2010.
Eddie Gilfoyle’s case was taken up by veteran campaigner Paul May, who was instrumental in the high profile campaigns of the Birmingham Six and Bridgewater Four cases, amongst others. He told Inside Time “In 1992, when Eddie Gilfoyle was arrested, Judith Ward was freed after 18 years imprisonment for murders she didn’t commit. The Court of Appeal sent the strongest possible message to police and prosecutors that they must disclose all relevant material in such cases at the earliest opportunity. This latest revelation provides further confirmation that Merseyside Police in Eddie’s case blatantly disregarded the Court’s instructions. For two decades, they’ve pursued an apparent policy of concealment and obstruction. It’s high time Merseyside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service came clean by disclosing all the information and material in their possession.”
Another miscarriage of justice case, previously highlighted by this newspaper, received a welcome boost this month. Colin Norris, who
has always strongly protested his innocence and was the subject of a BBC TV documentary broadcast in 2011 which revealed new expert
evidence, heard that his application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission has successfully led to the appointment of a Case Review Manager. It is understood the review of the new evidence will now begin. His case has also attracted the attention of campaigner Paul May, who has just agreed to work with Inside Justice, Inside Time’s miscarriage of justice investigative unit, to keep a public spotlight on Colin’s plight.
Finally, Inside Justice is interested in hearing from prisoners who have been convicted of a crime committed before 1995 where there may be biological evidence which remains untested. With the advances in DNA testing, so prevalent in the news, it is easy to forget there was no UK database prior to 1995. As a result, crime scene stains and swabs were not routinely tested for DNA. If you believe there could be biological material (sweat, blood, semen etc) from the attacker in the crime you are serving time for, and you are protesting your innocence, please write to Inside Justice at the Inside Time ‘mailbag’ address.