Tenacious fiancee triumphs as her lover is cleared of farmhouse shotgun killing

Cheryl Tooze refused from the first to accept that her lover, Jonathan Jones, had killed her parents. Yesterday, her tenacity was rewarded as she walked arm in arm with him after the Court of Appeal set him free.

An only child, all she had in the world after the deaths of her mother and father was the man she had loved for 12 years. With his arrest and conviction last year, her world collapsed.

Harry and Megan Tooze were each shot once in the back of the head at close range with a shotgun at their farm at Llanharry, Mid-Glamorgan, in July 1993. Mr Tooze, 64, was shot inside a cowshed. His 67-year-old wife was shot at the farmhouse as she tried to run for her life.

Mr Jones, 37, of Orpington, Kent, was convicted of the double murder after a 55-day trial at Newport Crown Court last April on a majority verdict of 10-2 after the prosecution claimed that he had paid a surprise visit to the farm and had tea with the couple before shooting them for the sake of a pounds 150,000 inheritance.

Yesterday he was freed amid dramatic scenes at the Court of Appeal after the three judges said they were all "of the clear view" that the convictions were unsafe.

Just days after the trial in Newport, doubt hovered over the conviction. The presiding judge, Mr Justice Rougier, released his confidential remarks about the trial which revealed that he thought the prosecution case had "fallen decidedly flat". Had he been a member of the jury, he said, he "should be conscious of significant doubt". He was disturbed by "the contrast between the total ruthlessness and pitiless determination of whoever killed Harry and Megan and man who sat in the dock and for four and a half days in the witness box".

John Rees QC, representing Mr Jones, returned to this theme in the Court of Appeal: "The shotgun was fired from approximately three feet away. They were, in short, executed," Mr Rees said. "Both were killed in identical fashion in the most callous way possible."

The killer was an experienced and accurate shot. Mr Jones had no experience with any firearms. There was a lack of forensic science evidence to link Mr Jones to the killing. The murder at close range would have left the killer covered in blood and brain tissue. Police examined Mr Jones's clothes and car and even took washbasins apart to try to find evidence linking him to the killings. He has to wear glasses at all times: police examined the minutest crevices of his glasses but there were no traces of blood or tissue.

The prosecution, Mr Rees argued yesterday, was based on "suspicion, speculation and conjecture . . . Cheryl believes he could not have killed Harry and Megan and has supported him throughout".

Despite having led a sheltered life, Miss Tooze braved considerable personal criticism to stand by Mr Jones, appearing on the BBC television series Modern Times to back the man convicted of murdering her parents. She offered a pounds 25,000 reward out of her inheritance to catch the real killer.

She supported Mr Jones through his trial, his conviction only intensifying her efforts to prove he was innocent. Living with his parents, Graham and Pauline Jones, at Caerphilly, she attended countless meetings with lawyers and made the 300-mile round trip to Gartree jail, Leicestershire, to see him every week.

Because of her campaign, Cheryl is now estranged from several of her relatives. Yesterday she was vindicated.

She summed up the decision succinctly: "It is a victory for love and truth."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing