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
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
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: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower