Inquiry to be held into new evidence in Billie-Jo case

An investigation has been ordered into new evidence that could help clear Sion Jenkins, the former deputy headmaster convicted of murdering his foster daughter, Billie-Jo, in 1997.

The Court of Appeal ordered yesterday that evidence about the behaviour of a mentally-ill man who was near the murder scene and who was considered a suspect must be re-examined.

Jenkins' trial in 1998 heard that the man, who was known to have been in the vicinity when Billie-Jo Jenkins, 13, was killed at her home in Hastings, East Sussex, may have had a fixation with pushing pieces of plastic bags up his nose.

Three appeal judges in London were told yesterday that a pathologist found Billie-Jo had part of a black bin-liner stuffed deeply into one of her nostrils after her murder. The man, a paranoid schizophrenic, had been seen in a park near the murder scene.

The appeal judges have asked the Criminal Cases Review Commissionto inquire into whether the man "exhibited any unusual behaviour in relation to plastic bags or sheets or other plastic objects".

Jenkins, 46, was jailed for life for bludgeoning Billie-Jo to death with a metal tent spike.