Widow gives police new murder lead

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THE TALE of the woman cleared at the Old Bailey of the murder of her millionaire husband has taken an intriguing new twist, with her lawyers handing detectives information that they say will lead to the real killer.

Linda Watson claims that the police became "obsessed" with the idea of convicting her and her daughter Amanda London-Williams for the murder ofRichard Watson, 55, and ignored other avenues of investigation. They were, she says, even given the name of a prime suspect.

Ms Watson and Ms London-Williams were found not guilty at the Old Bailey when charges against them were dropped amid recriminations between prosecution lawyers and detectives. Senior officers were furious at the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to proceed with the trial.

Following the acquittal, which means that the mother and daughter cannot be charged with the murder again, their solicitor Chris Lewis has liaised with Sussex murder squad officers about suspects and motives and also supplied them with a number of documents.

The police stress that there has been no neglect on their part in the investigation into the shooting and say they are confident they will find the gunman who shot down Mr Watson outside his home in East Grinstead, Sussex. In turn it will lead them, they believe, to whoever commissioned the murder.

Police sources say they are studying the information supplied by Ms Watson's lawyers and a number of people are likely to be re-interviewed. It is believed that the information given to them suggests that the motive for the murder of Mr Watson may be related to his business affairs.

However, the police, Ms Watson and her lawyers dismiss speculation about links with organised crime in Russia. Mr Watson's computer company, Trafalgar, had business dealings in the former Soviet Union.

Ms Watson told the Independent on Sunday: "The police were actually given the name of a suspect, but they were so determined to get me and Amanda- Jane that they didn't look at other leads. Now my solicitor Chris Lewis has given them leads to follow up; in fact, part of this comes from looking at their own paperwork. The man who killed my husband is out there, and it is the duty of the police to find him. "

The charges against Ms Watson and Ms London-Williams were dropped after the prosecution carried out a new set of ballistic tests on the eve of the trial. These undermined the Crown case that Mr Watson must have been shot from the balcony of his home - which could only have taken place with the connivance of his wife and Ms London-Williams, his stepdaughter.

Ms Watson had withdrawn her pounds 30,000 share of a pounds 50,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her husband's killer. At first she said she intended to spend the money on a private investigation. But now she has changed her mind, and this weekend she pointed out it should be left up to the police to continue with the investigation without the family money being invested in the process. She added: "Amanda- Jane and I must really draw a line under this. The police have got their own information, we have given them our information, and it's up to them now to get on with it. It's not up to us to do their job for them."

While the criminal investigation continues, the Watson family has been enveloped in tension and acrimony. Ms London-Williams, Ms Watson's daughter by a previous marriage to a Scottish folk singer, intends to take legal action to ensure that she gets part of the fortune, her mother told the Independent.

At present, apart from Linda, the estate is due to be divided between Mr Watson's four natural children from two marriages. Ms Watson has fallen out with two of them - Charlotte and Julian.

She said: "As far as I am concerned Charlotte is not part of the family unit. She has never accepted me as Richard's wife. As for Julian, it would be an understatement to say he was less than helpful when Amanda-Jane and I were arrested. We don't think of him any longer as a part of the family."

During her brief appearance at the Old Bailey, Ms Watson's counsel told the court that her husband had not left a will and she did not stand to gain from his death. She has, however, inherited around pounds 600,000 from his estate, including part-share of pounds 230,000 from the sale of the marital home. She and her daughter have also sold their story to a tabloid newspaper.

Charlotte Watson, Mr Watson's daughter by his first wife Wendy, said: "We are all desperately sad about what happened to our father. All we want is for his killer to be caught. The police have said they have not given up, and they will get those responsible.

"I do not want to get into this awful bickering, but I would like to say the family break-up was not the fault of either myself or Julian. I never resented my father's marriage to Linda. It is a shame she is behaving in this way.

"What I do know is this is not the end of the matter. An awful lot more will come out, my father's killers are not as safe as they may think they are."