John Walsh: Justice at last for Eddie Gilfoyle?

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Amateur sleuths, and those who sometimes despair of British justice, will rejoice to hear that the case of Eddie Gilfoyle is being submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. This is the third appeal by the Falklands veteran who was convicted, 18 years ago, of murdering his pregnant wife by hanging her, but who has always protested his innocence.

It seems a very open-and-shut case. Paula Gilfoyle, 32, was found hanging in the family's garage in June 1992; she was eight-and-half months pregnant, and had climbed a stepladder before throwing a rope over a beam and placing it round her neck. A handwritten suicide note was found. The prosecution refused, however, to believe it was suicide.

Eight-months-pregnant women don't kill themselves, they said. Mrs Gilfoyle was too pregnant to have climbed the ladder, they said, and too short to have thrown the rope over a high beam. She couldn't possibly have done it alone, they said. And the note... well, obviously it had been dictated by Eddie Gilfoyle.

Excuse me? It had been dictated by Eddie, they said, as, er, as a sneaky trick; he probably told his wife that he needed the note as a contribution to a hospital course he was doing on suicide. As you do. A doctor who examined the wife concluded that she'd died at a time when her husband was at work, but this rock-solid alibi was kept from the murder trial.

Years later, it's been established that 80 per cent of pregnant women who commit suicide do it in the last month. That the rope was of a kind that could be manoeuvred over a beam by a person of medium height. That Eddie Gilfoyle couldn't testify during the trial because he'd been taken off his psychiatric medication. And so on. There are dozens of fascinating details. But what appals us, 18 years of imprisonment and two failed appeals later, is the brass cheek of the prosecution in coming up with such a cock and bull story about the suicide note. Which wife in history would calmly take suicide-note dictation from their mentally disturbed husband, and sign it in front of him? Which murderous husband would drag his heavily pregnant (struggling? comatose? Neither is ideal, quite frankly) wife up a stepladder, and arrange a noose round her neck while balancing precariously on the top rung?

If this is what the law continues to say, then the law, to quote Mr Bumble, is an ass. An idiot. It's time this travesty of justice was cleared up once and for all.

An impresssive body of work

Rihanna Fenty, the not-unattractive Barbadian singer who warbles about umbrellas, rude boys and Russian roulette, and is a role model to millions, most especially my youngest daughter, has an alarming thing about tattoos.

Not for her the single, discreet, heart-with-a-dagger-through-it image on her thigh, or the dramatic hunt-in-full-cry epic across her back. Ms Fenty likes having lots of tattoos, apparently randomly chosen and scattered, like confetti or childish scribbles, across her 22-year-old bod. There's a prayer in Sanskrit on her hip, a handgun on her breast, a music crochet on her right ankle, a Pisces sign behind her left ear, the words "always a failure, always a lesson" written (back to front) on her collarbone, and the birthdate of her assistant Melissa rendered in Roman numerals on her shoulder, in case she might forget such a vital piece of information.

This seems to me the equivalent of using your flesh as one of those cork pinboards, on which you stick whatever invitations, lists, bills, photographs, and daily paraphernalia come your way. Can nobody stop her? The most recent tattoo (her 15th) features the words "rebelle fleur" on her neck. Perhaps she thinks it means "rebellious flower" – but that would be "fleur révolte." And you can't imagine the word révolte applied to the lovely Ms Fenty, no matter how odd her taste in adornments.

What happens to bin Laden's cook if he burns the eggy bread?

The news that Osama bin Laden's cook has been sentenced to 14 years in prison must have given the catering world a jolt. Actually, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi was also the warlord's bodyguard and driver, but the media like to call him "Osama's cook" and we've a picture of him in our heads now, wearing an apron bearing the words "There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is His prophet," and waving a spatula.

Mr Qosi worked in one of the kitchens at Bin Laden's Afghan compound, Star of Jihad – and how piquant to find that a terrorist stronghold was given a name along the lines of a Balham curry house. But now that his job has gone unfilled for a while, will out-of-work British chefs think of applying?

How hard can it have been, knocking up tasty meals for a gourmet terrorist? Did he insist on fresh falafel every day? (Did he have any idea how hard it is to source top-quality chickpeas in the caves of Tora Bora?) Did he turn his nose up at shawarma lamb kebabs? ("Where do you think we are, Ibrahim, Piccadilly bloody Circus?"). Was he a teensy bit precieux about ingredients ("Call me a dreamer, Ibrahim, but I can't detect any white wine vinegar in this hollandaise...")?

And what would happen to you if you burnt his eggy bread one morning? "Ibrahim, I've always thought of you as a devout man. A God-fearing man. A man who will go that extra mile to express his dedication to the jihad. I'm sure that you will enjoy your next shopping trip to Baghdad. But there's just something I'd like you to wear for me when you're at the crowded street market ..."

j.walsh@independent.co.uk

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