Sophie's killer to appeal

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The Independent Online
Howard Hughes, jailed for life for the rape and murder of seven- year-old Sophie Hook, was yesterday given leave to appeal against his conviction. Hughes, 32, nicknamed "Mad Howard", was convicted at Chester Crown Court in July last year of taking Sophie from the garden of her uncle's home in Llandudno, Gwynedd, where she had been sharing a tent with her sister and two cousins after a family party. Her body was found on a nearby beach next morning.

Lord Justice Otton said that the appeal should go forward on the sole basis that the trial judge, Mr Justice Curtis, had not directed the jury that there was a special need for caution before convicting Hughes solely on his confession, given his mental handicap.