Family's fresh hopes for Essex Boys case

A SUFFOLK man convicted of a notorious gangland-style triple murder is today hoping that fresh evidence could help to quash his conviction.Jack Whomes, of Brockford, has always denied shooting dead drug barons Pat Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony Tucker as they sat in a Range Rover in a remote farm track in Rettendon, Essex.

A SUFFOLK man convicted of a notorious gangland-style triple murder is today hoping that fresh evidence could help to quash his conviction.

Jack Whomes, of Brockford, has always denied shooting dead drug barons Pat Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony Tucker as they sat in a Range Rover in a remote farm track in Rettendon, Essex.

Tomorrow marks the 12th anniversary of the murders, which became known as the Essex Boys killings.

Whomes, a former Stowmarket bouncer, was jailed for life with his accomplice, Michael Steele, of Great Bentley, Essex, following a trial at the Old Bailey in 1998.

However, Steele's solicitor, Ipswich-based Christopher Bowen, is believed to have unearthed new information which could cast doubt on the duo's convictions.

The new evidence is expected to be submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) later this month.

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Today, Whomes' mum, Pam, said her son was cautiously optimistic about the potential breakthrough and was hopeful it could trigger a fresh appeal.

Mrs Whomes said: “Jack said it's good news if it can be backed up.

“This brings their case back to life again, it keeps it going, and Jack seemed quite pleased with it.

“But he said he wonders if it is just going to be like all the other things which have come along and been knocked down.

“It's an ongoing fight.”

Whomes and Steele failed in their attempts to overturn their convictions in February 2006 when the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by the pair.

If the CCRC deems the new evidence to be of significance, it could lead to a second Court of Appeal hearing.

Mrs Whomes said: “Jack said at this time of year he always feels sorry for those poor fellows' (Tate, Rolfe and Tucker) families.

“This is his 12th Christmas in prison and we say the same thing every year but we hope it's his last.”

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