Murder conviction quashed

 

THE Court of Appeal in London yesterday quashed the convictions of a businessman who had been jailed for the murders of his girlfriend's parents.

Mr Jonathan Jones (37), of Orpington, Kent, was released amid dramatic scenes when three appeal judges said the convictions or the killings of Harry Tooze (63), and his wife Megan (67) were unsafe. Their daughter, Ms Cheryl Tooze, had always maintained Mr Jones, was innocent.

The elderly couple were each shot once in the back of the head with a shotgun in the execution style murders at their six acre farm at Llanharry, Mid Glamorgan.

Mr Jones was convicted on a 10-2 majority verdict at Newport Crown Court last April after the prosecution claimed he had paid a surprise visit to the farm that day.

It was alleged he had tea with the couple before shooting them in order to gain a £150,000 inheritance through Ms Tooze.

Mr John Rees, QC, for Mr Jones, said it had never been proved that Mr Jones was anywhere near the farmhouse at the time of the killings, and there was fresh evidence to support his claim that he was looking for an office in Orpington that day.

The couple left the court arm in arm, and embraced and kissed in front of the TV cameras. Mr Jones said: "I am delighted to be free. I had never given up hope.

"I am delighted to have been cleared but it has taken an awful long time. My life in prison has been horrendous.

Ms Tooze said her offer of a £25,000 reward for the capture of her parents' killers still stood.