Trial evidence against Jenkins was 'flawed'

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The Independent Online

Sion Jenkins, the teacher jailed for life for murdering his foster daughter, was the victim of one of the worst and most "tragic" miscarriages of justice in British criminal history, his lawyer claimed yesterday.

Sion Jenkins, the teacher jailed for life for murdering his foster daughter, was the victim of one of the worst and most "tragic" miscarriages of justice in British criminal history, his lawyer claimed yesterday.

Clare Montgomery, QC, representing Jenkins, argued at his appeal that the forensic evidence used to convict the former deputy headteacher was fatally flawed.

Jenkins, 46, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court in 1998 of battering Billie-Jo, 13, to death with an metal tent spike as she was painting a patio door at their home in Hastings, East Sussex, on 15 February 1997.

The case centred on how 150 microscopic spots of Billie-Jo's blood came to be on Jenkins' clothing. Ms Montgomery told the judges, who heard fresh scientific evidence last week, that the defence has shown that the prosecution's scientists were wrong to say at the original trial that there was no innocent explanation for the blood.

New evidence showed that air pressure lay "dammed up" behind a blockage in Billie-Jo's upper airway, said Miss Montgomery. As a result, "anyone who moved Billie-Jo's fallen body at the critical time, or anyone who was simply by her when the blockage released, would have been liable to be covered by a fine spatter of blood.

She told the appeal hearing that Billie-Jo could have lived for 20 minutes and in all probability was still alive when Jenkins found her after returning from the shopping trip.

The hearing continues.