Ex-wife of Jenkins asked him to admit to Billie-Jo murder

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The wife of the teacher convicted of murdering his foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins wrote to her husband as he awaited trial asking him to confess to the killing, it was revealed yesterday.

The wife of the teacher convicted of murdering his foster daughter Billie-Jo Jenkins wrote to her husband as he awaited trial asking him to confess to the killing, it was revealed yesterday.

Lois Jenkins wanted Sion Jenkins to admit to the murder of the 13-year-old for the sake of their other children, the Court of Appeal was told.

In the letter, written to Jenkins on 13 April 1997 while he was on bail, she wrote: "The girls would, I know, be relieved of enormous burdens if they felt human beings had the capacity to own up to things.

"I am living in constant awareness of the need for the children and others to experience again the reality of honesty and confession."

The letter was read out as Mrs Jenkins was being cross- examined at the hearing in which her former husband is appealing against his murder conviction and life sentence.

Jenkins' lawyers argued that as Mrs Jenkins became convinced of her husband's guilt she fabricated incriminating evidence for fear that her husband would be freed.

Clare Montgomery QC, for the defence, suggested that Mrs Jenkins tried "to convince your husband to confess that he had killed Billie-Jo, for the sake of the children" so that their daughters Annie and Charlotte, who were with him on the day of the murder, would not have to give evidence.

Mrs Jenkins said: "I did not see Sion Jenkins kill Billie-Jo and I will never be 100 per cent sure, but there is a difference between 100 per cent and thinking, and this is a personal letter."

Jenkins, 46, was jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court in 1998 for battering Billie-Jo to death with a metal tent spike at their home in Hastings, East Sussex, on 15 February 1997.

Mrs Jenkins revealed during cross examination the psychological damage and trauma the murder caused her daughters.

She said neither of them had properly spoken together about the day of the murder or received any in-depth counselling.

As part of the appeal process Charlotte, now 18, and Annie, 20, agreed to be interviewed again by the police about the murder.

"When we got home both of them ran upstairs and went into foetal positions on their beds [for] several hours," Mrs Jenkins, 43, said.

Ms Montgomery put it to her that her daughters were a far greater concern to her than her husband after Billie-Jo's murder. Mrs Jenkins replied: "I had to make a decision: either I look after my children or they will fall and crumble."

In his appeal, Jenkins' legal team alleges that his wife lied to the police and gave the impression that the girls were hostile towards him, and that this deterred his trial lawyers from calling their potentially crucial evidence on his behalf.

Earlier the court heard that Mrs Jenkins, a nurse who now lives with her daughters and her new partner in Tasmania, had told police that her daughter, Annie, had suggested that her husband had killed Billie-Jo because she had upset Annie. Ms Montgomery argued that Mrs Jenkins had made up the story ­ something she denied in court.

The hearing continues.