Man loses appeal over hammer killing of woman

THE FAMILY of a labourer convicted of battering an elderly woman to death vowed to take the case to the House of Lords yesterday after the Court of Appeal rejected claims that his conviction was unsafe.

Three judges ruled that the original jury's decision to find Brian Parsons guilty of murder was correct. They added that the evidence given by one witness called to try to clear Parsons' name bore "all the hallmarks of a fictional account conceived by those with the talent to embellish a threadbare storyline".

Parsons's wife, Annette, who was in court to hear the judgment, said: "They are protecting the system. They don't want to know about corruption and conspiracy. We all knew that he should have walked."

Parsons, 39, was found guilty at Exeter Crown Court in 1988 of murdering Ivy Batten, 84, during a burglary at her home in Colyton, Devon, in 1987. Mrs Batten, who lived on her own, was found dead on the floor of her living room by a relative, killed by seven hammer blows to the head.

Parsons, who had no previous conviction, was arrested and convicted on the basis of forensic scientific evidence. Days after the murder, the hammer and a pair of gloves were discovered near Mrs Batten's bungalow. The Exeter jury was told that fibres from the gloves were found in Parsons' car and in his coat pocket. Fibres from a jumper found in his car were also detected on the gloves.

During an appeal last October, and one in 1990, Parsons's defence team argued that officers from the Devon and Cornwall police had planted the fibres and that the prosecution had withheld 160 pieces of evidence from the defence.

The case was the subject of a programme broadcast by West Country Television, in which it was suggested that the hammer and gloves had been "mishandled" by the local police constable and that the officer's wife was part of a police conspiracy to implicate Parsons in the murder.

Lord Justice Beldam said the programme "devised a theory to support the allegations of misconduct". Concluding on behalf of himself, Mr Justice Garland and Mr Justice Popplewell, he dismissed the suggestion that evidence had been planted and said: "We are left in no doubt about the safety of the appellant's conviction."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor