European help sought in murder appeal

AN Ipswich solicitor representing a man convicted of a triple gangland murder is in Strasbourg today pledging to take his fight to the European Court of Human Rights.

AN Ipswich solicitor representing a man convicted of a triple gangland murder is in Strasbourg today pledging to take his fight to the European Court of Human Rights.

Christopher Bowen, representing Michael Steele, of Great Bentley, travelled to France after his client and Jack Whomes, of Brockford, near Stowmarket, failed in their bid to overturn convictions for the murders of three drugs barons.

Whomes, 45, and Steele, 63, were jailed for the Rettendon murders of Tony Tucker, Patrick Tate and Craig Rolfe, who were shot to death in a gangland hit on December 6, 1995.

The pair, who have served eight years for the murders, had their appeals dismissed at the Royal Court of Appeal last Wednesday.


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Mr Bowen pledged the men would continue to pursue all avenues in their bid for freedom.

He said: “The purpose of my trip is to pave the way for an application to the European Court of Human Rights at the earliest possible opportunity. I will be looking to see a case lawyer. This case is never going to be over until we feel that justice has been done on behalf of the Rettendon Two.

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“Mr Steele is in a determined mood and I can also tell you I have been made aware that he has reflected on Wednesday's judgement and is very excited about new issues arising from that judgement.”

The solicitor added his trip was part of a three-pronged strategy to get the convictions overturned. He said there will be another application made to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and lawyers contested the appeal court judges' verdict are looking to take the matter to the House of Lords.

Whomes brother John said his sibling, family and legal team were still reeling from the appeal being dismissed, but was pleased to hear his co-appellant was also forging ahead with the fight.

He added: “Jack was down like the rest of us, but he said to my mum 'I am rock solid' and we will fight on. He knows in five years time if he admits to the crime he can come home, but there's now way he's going to do that. He would not do it because he never committed the crime.”

John Whomes added he would continue the fight even if it took another ten years to quash the conviction, but was adamant his family would win their battle earlier than that.

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