Conviction doubts of victim's relative

RELATIVES of a murdered Suffolk pensioner spoke of their distress today after a member of her family allegedly posted a message supporting the man convicted of killing her.

RELATIVES of a murdered Suffolk pensioner spoke of their distress today after a member of her family allegedly posted a message supporting the man convicted of killing her.

The message appears on a website created by family and friends of Simon Hall, who was found guilty of killing Joan Albert at her Capel St Mary home in December 2001.

It states: “I was at part of your trial, and yes, I thought you were guilty. Now, reading your website, I have my doubts.

“I'm still unsure but justice will prevail in the end.”

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Today, Mrs Albert's family said they have no way of verifying whether the message is genuine. The family member who allegedly posted the message cannot be named for legal reasons.

Hall, 27, formerly of Hill House Road, Ipswich, is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder in February 2003.

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A member of Joan Albert's family, who did not wish to be named, today told of the upset caused by such statements.

She said: “These people who are putting these messages on the website were not there. There were only two people at the murder scene, Joan and the person who killed her. They are the only ones who know what happened.

“As a family, we were at the trial the whole time, along with the jury of 12 unbiased people.

“We sat through the trial and so did they and they found Hall guilty by a majority verdict of 11 to one.

“We've got a lot of older relatives in our family and this has ruined their older age. Every time this is brought up it has a bad enough effect on the younger ones, let alone the older members.

“I don't want to start a slanging match with the Hall family. We've got nothing against them and you can understand why they're doing it. But from our side this is very upsetting.”

She added the family no longer has any contact with the person alleged to have posted the message.

It comes less than a week after it was revealed a Suffolk police officer allegedly sent an e-mail to Hall's website, expressing sympathy towards his plight.

Simon Stevens, of Suffolk police, said an investigation is continuing into this matter and refused to comment on the website postings until this is complete.

Philip Hall, the adopted father of Hall, said these two messages have boosted his family.

He said: “Of course this gives us renewed hope.

“The more people that come and join us on the website the better. We know Simon is where he shouldn't be and we want to get him out as quickly as possible.”

Hall was found guilty of murdering 79-year-old pensioner Mrs Albert following a huge police investigation.

The elderly widow was found dead by a neighbour in the hallway of her home, in Bodylands, Capel St Mary, on December 16, 2001. She had suffered knife wounds inflicted by a knife taken from the house.

Hall has always maintained his innocence and has twice tried and failed to appeal. His case is currently with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Police secured a conviction after providing evidence fibres linked to Hall had been found in Mrs Albert's house.

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