Widow to receive police apology

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The Independent Online

A chief constable will tomorrow apologise to a widow who was wrongly accused of murdering her husband. Sussex police chief, Ken Jones, will meet the widow of millionaire businessman Richard Watson, who was shot dead in December 1996.

Linda Watson, 50, and her daughter Amanda were charged with the murder but were freed on the eve of their trial in June 1998.

Sussex police were later criticised by the Police Complaints Commission for their handling of the case. Ballistic evidence, which police claimed proved the fatal shots came from the family home, was successfully challenged by the defence team.

An inquest into Mr Watson's death earlier this month returned a verdict of unlawful killing. But it also revealed that another man, Paul Garfield-Jones, was arrested on the night of the murder. Garfield-Jones, currently serving 17 years for attempted murder in connection with another case, was never charged. However, he had been charged with burgling Mr Watson's computer firm in 1995.

Mr Watson's murder came three weeks after he was attacked with a stun gun outside his firm. The inquest on 5 October heard that he had told a friend he believed he had been attacked in a bid to intimidate him before a forthcoming trial.

A spokesman for Sussex police confirmed that Mr Jones would be meeting Mrs Watson tomorrow morning. "He's going to meet her to say sorry because he wants to apologise to her in person."