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Ipswich/Capel St Mary: Simon Hall’s “heartbroken” wife to demand answers over prison death after he struggled to live with his guilt

PUBLISHED: 15:04 24 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 25 February 2014

Simon and Stephanie Hall after their wedding in Kingston Prison, Portsmouth in 2008

Simon and Stephanie Hall after their wedding in Kingston Prison, Portsmouth in 2008

Archant

Simon Hall’s wife today said questions need to be answered after the man convicted of murdering a 79-year-old widow was found dead in his prison cell.

Stephanie Hall said her husband was not able to live with himself after he confessed last year to killing Joan Albert at her home in Boydlands, Capel St Mary, more than 12 years ago.

Hall was found unconscious in his cell at HMP Wayland, near Thetford at 5.25am yesterday. Attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The reason for his death will be established at a subsequent inquest.

However, Mrs Hall said her husband had previously made attempts on his life after admitting his guilt. It is understood Hall was not on suicide watch at the time of his death.

The 36-year-old was convicted of Mrs Albert’s murder at Norwich Crown Court in February 2003. For 11 years after Hall was arrested he denied being the killer and battled to clear his name.

Hall, formerly of Hill House, Road, Ipswich, admitted his guilt last August when he was an inmate at Hollesley Bay open prison, near Woodbridge.

Earlier in the year he had been taken to Ipswich Hospital in what was said to have been a life-threatening condition.

Following his death his distraught wife Stephanie said: “I am heartbroken.

“He meant everything to me. He was the love of my life and I will never get over him.

“There are many victims in this. Simon was a tormented soul. I am not ashamed of him and don’t want people to think badly of him.

“He couldn’t live with what he had done. He has been trying to kill himself since the day he confessed. I’m very angry.

“It is another death in custody. There will be questions about this.”

Yesterday a Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Wayland prisoner Simon Hall was found unresponsive in his cell by prison staff at approximately 5.25am on Sunday February 23.

“Paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 5.49am.

“As with all deaths in custody, the Independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

Mrs Albert, a widow, was found in the hallway of her home on December 16, 2001. She had been stabbed five times.

Hall had claimed his conviction was a miscarriage of justice and had denied his guilt in two prison interviews with this newspaper.

His family carried out a high-profile campaign locally, while Hall launched a series of appeals, winning the backing of MPs and appearing in the BBC documentary Rough Justice.

Hall also submitted two applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to consider his case.

After the former East Bergholt High School pupil admitted killing Mrs Albert, her relatives said: “During the last 10 years the publicity surrounding the appeals has been very distressing for our family, making moving on impossible, but we would like to thank Suffolk Police, including (retired detective superintendent) Roy Lambert and his team, who carried out the original investigation, to present-day officers who continue to support us.

“We are also grateful to those who have helped us throughout this difficult ordeal.”

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