'Annus horribilis' for murder accused

, prosecution witness, forensic scientist Judith Cunnison , agreed the flock fibres found were not unique. She admitted they could have been made by a member of the Society of European Flock Manufacturers, or its US counterpart, or in the Far East.

By Tracey Sparling

, prosecution witness, forensic scientist Judith Cunnison , agreed the flock fibres found were not unique. She admitted they could have been made by a member of the Society of European Flock Manufacturers, or its US counterpart, or in the Far East. Such fabric could find its way into products across the world, she said.

The fibres found filled less than a quarter of a teaspoon, but Mrs Cunnison shed in such profusion that they must have come from a velvet or velour item 'bigger than a motif of spectacles case.'

She also discounted shoes as the source of the fibres, because the fibres were too long.

She said none of Mrs Albert's DNA, including blood, or red fibres which shed readily from her dressing gown, were found on anything linked to the defendant Hall, 25, from Hill House Road, Ipswich.

When asked by defence barrister Peter Rouch QC, Mrs Cunnison admitted that the scenes examined could have been 'innocently contaminated' by someone transferring the fibres on their clothes, as they moved between the houses.

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Hall's former colleagues from 24seven said he had been quick to explain he was a murder suspect, after police searched his broken-down Audi in the firm car park in Fore Hamlet, Ipswich.

They said the calls advisor explained Mrs Albert had been a 'family friend,' who he had driven home in the past.

Call centre manager Lisa Gilhooly said: "We didn't have to ask any questions –he just told us."

She added: "He said it had been a horrible year. His granddad had died, his girlfriend suffered a miscarriage and he wanted a fresh start. It was causing him aggravation and grief in the place he was living so he moved to Ipswich to make the fresh start."

She said there had been 'lots of conversations' in the office, about the white-suited forensics officers arriving to examine Hall's car.

Hall's colleague Diane Cranfield also attended an informal meeting held in a private office, where he said police has been interested in his car 'due to fibres being found in it."

Customer services manager Janice Fox said Hall was calm but apprehensive at her presence during the meeting. She said: "He was upset because the police had gone through his things at his house. He was shaken so we offered support and he agreed to see human resources people, and the police, with regards to moving his car off site."

She said management at the firm wanted the car moved, but it had a flat tyre.

Lynn Lawrence, Hall's team leader, said he claimed to have been out with friends the night before Mrs Albert was discovered dead on December 16, 2001, then arrived home to have a cup of tea with his mum who was awake and restless.

Colleague Aaron Eaton said Hall admitted knowing Mrs Albert and said: "The concern I remember Simon having was the police coming in without the consent of management, to examine the vehicle, and his concern about what people would say and management's reaction.

"He was straight down the line. It's a call centre and people talk, so that's what he did."

Customer services worker John Patten said he originally wanted to buy the G-reg Audi for his wife but Hall wanted £400 for it.

It was eventually sold to Mr Patten's friend to be used in a stock car race then scrapped. He told the jury he asked Hall in an email: "Is it tarred?" meaning linked to a crime or defective, and Hall replied: "Not at all."

Hall later emailed Mr Patten to say: "I'm just fed up with all the attention I'm getting, from the police and management wanting the car moved."

He added that he was waiting for the police to say "Thanks for your time."

The trial continues today.

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