Simon Hall admits he murdered 79-year-old Joan Albert despite decade campaigning for 'miscarriage of justice'

Suffolk victim was found in her hallway after being stabbed five times

A killer who spent a decade claiming he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice has finally admitted his guilt.

Simon Hall, 35, was convicted and jailed for life in 2003 after murdering Joan Albert, 79, in her home in Capel St Mary, Suffolk. She was found in her hallway on December 16, 2001, after being stabbed five times.

He had protested his innocence ever since, launching a series of appeals, winning the backing of MPs and appearing in the BBC documentary Rough Justice.

But now it has emerged Hall, previously of Hill House Road, Ipswich, had admitted his guilt to prison authorities, bringing his campaign to an end.

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: "Over the 10 years since Hall's conviction there have been a number of appeals and campaigns which have asserted that Simon Hall was wrongfully convicted of Mrs Albert's murder.

"These events and the related uncertainty have undoubtedly exacerbated the suffering Mrs Albert's family have had to endure since Joan was murdered.

"We sincerely hope that Simon Hall's admissions to having committed this brutal crime will in some way enable the family to move on with their lives."

In a statement issued to the East Anglian Daily Times, Mrs Albert's relatives said: "During the last 10 years the publicity surrounding the appeals has been very distressing for our family, making moving on impossible, but we would like to thank Suffolk Police, including (retired detective superintendent) Roy Lambert and his team, who carried out the original investigation, to present day officers who continue to support us.

"We are also grateful to those who have helped us throughout this difficult ordeal."

Hall submitted two applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to consider his case. The CCRC was informed of his prison confession and contacted him asking him if he wanted to withdraw his claim, and his case has been closed.

The website Justice4SimonHall this morning displayed the message: "This site is closed."

Hall's wife Stephanie had been part of his campaign for justice. She was not answering the phone this morning.

His mother Lynne could not be contacted but told the East Anglian Daily Times: "I'm absolutely shocked because I know he is innocent and I still believe he is.

"But it's the system. If he had pleaded guilty in the beginning, he would be home now.

"I know he has been really low and in hospital recently. He's given up."

Mrs Albert spent all of her life living in Suffolk. During the Second World War she worked in a ball-bearing factory and she also worked as a hairdresser and in shops before retiring.

Her husband Cyril died in the early 1990s. They never had children.

At Hall's original trial at Norwich Crown Court, jurors were told Mrs Albert had been the victim of a "sudden, savage and brutal attack" after a burglary attempt went wrong.

They heard Hall, who had previous convictions for violence, had been out drinking with friends in Ipswich and had an alibi for most of the night and following morning, except between 5.30am and 6.15am, which could have corresponded with the time of Mrs Albert's death.

Fingerprints, footprints and DNA evidence found at the murder scene did not match Hall's.

But detectives believed fibres from black trousers found at the scene, in his car and in a cupboard at his parent's home, tied him to the murder.

The jury unanimously found him guilty of murder and he was jailed for life. His solicitor immediately announced he would be lodging an appeal.

Speaking outside court at the time, Mrs Albert's niece Glynis Dzundza said: "Auntie Joan can never come back and our memories of the past 14 months will never be erased.

"A lot of our lives have been upset, including family and friends of Auntie Joan, and they will never be the same again."

PA

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