Murder appeal told of rumour mill

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The Independent Online
Witnesses in a tight-knit community where a couple were shot dead changed their descriptions of a mystery man in a trenchcoat when talk spread about the killer, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

Jonathan Jones, 37, was jailed for life after being convicted of the murders of Harry Tooze, 64, and his 67-year-old wife Megan - the parents of his girlfriend Cheryl.

But the judge at his trial at Newport Crown Court in April last year, Mr Justice Rougier, should have ruled evidence of identification of a stranger seen near the Toozes home in Llanharry, Mid-Glamorgan, inadmissible, said John Rees QC, for Jones, who is 6ft 4ins tall.

Police inquiry forms filled in by villagers described the man as 5ft 9ins to 5ft 11ins with black hair. None of the five statements said he was tall. But at the trial the same witnesses described the mystery man as well over 6ft with brown, black hair. "Rumours became rife in the area that Jonathan Jones was the killer. Gossip was circulating along the lines of `I bet the boyfriend did it'," said Mr Rees.

The case resumes today