Jenkins loses appeal against Billie-Jo conviction

SION JENKINS, the former deputy headteacher jailed for life last year for the murder of his teenage foster daughter, Billie-Jo, lost his appeal against conviction yesterday.

The Court of Appeal, in London, upheld a jury's verdict in July 1998 that Jenkins, 41, battered the girl to death with a metal tent spike in the garden of the family home in Hastings, East Sussex. After the judgment, Anthony Scrivener QC, representing Jenkins, applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords. His application will be heard in the Court of Appeal in January.

Thirteen-year-old Billie-Jo was painting the patio doors at the rear of the family's home when she was murdered on 15 February 1997. Tiny droplets of blood found on Jenkins's clothing were the crucial evidence in the trial.

The prosecution told Mr Justice Gage and the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the 150 microscopic blood spots, which were identical to Billie-Jo's blood, could only have got on to Jenkins's shoes, trousers and jacket when he attacked her. The prosecution said the girl would not have been alive 15 minutes later, when her foster father said he found her, and that a dying person's breath would not have produced that kind of spotting.

Five grounds of appeal were rejected yesterday, including fresh evidence from David Denison, a physiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Professor Denison had done experiments to show that the specks of blood could have landed on Jenkins's clothing as Billie-Jo exhaled air mixed with blood through her nose when he tended to her as she lay dying.

The three judges at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Dyson and Mr Justice Penry-Davey, concluded that Professor Denison's theory did not fit the facts of the case. They wrote in their judgment: "The appellant was the last known adult to see the deceased alive, and the first known adult to see her dead. His clothing was found upon examination to be spattered with blood in a way which was consistent with him being her attacker. The clothing of others who went to the aid of the deceased was not similarly spattered."

Billy-Jo had lived with Jenkins, his wife, Lois, and their four natural daughters, as a foster child since 1992. It was expected that in due course they would adopt her. On the afternoon of her death, Jenkins had been with his two eldest daughters, aged 10 and 12. Both girls were questioned by the police about the day's events. The three judges rejected Mr Scrivener's appeal that the police embarked on a deliberate campaign to influence the children and taint their evidence.

The judges noted that in the initial stages of the police inquiry, Jenkins "repeatedly failed to reveal that he had been into his house about 15 minutes before the body was discovered", returning between two journeys. Moreover, they queried Jenkins's explanation for the quarter-hour after this visit. He said he had gone to buy white spirit, but found at the shop that he had no money and had to turn back; white spirit was later found at the house.

The judges said the explanation was "unusual in that he went without money by a circuitous route to buy an item that he did not need".

William Jenkins, Billie-Jo's natural father, said outside the court yesterday: "I think that Sion Jenkins has got the justice that he wanted. I hope he didn't expect anything else from this court or any other court in the land. You can't buy justice - not in this court."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride