Life behind bars for Capel killer

WAILS of grief filled the courtroom today as Simon Hall's family heard him declared a murderer.On hearing the verdict, relatives of Hall called out "You're so wrong!" and "I love you, Simon!"Years behind bars is the future for the 25-year-old after he was convicted at Norwich Crown Court of the murder of a Capel St Mary pensioner.

By Tracey Sparling

WAILS of grief filled the courtroom today as Simon Hall's family heard him declared a murderer.

On hearing the verdict, relatives of Hall called out "You're so wrong!" and "I love you, Simon!"

Years behind bars is the future for the 25-year-old after he was convicted at Norwich Crown Court of the murder of a Capel St Mary pensioner.

A jury of seven men and five women returned a majority verdict.

They said Hall was guilty of stabbing 79-year-old Joan Albert to death after a bungled burglary at her home.

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Throughout the 12-day trial Hall, 25, of Hill House Road, Ipswich, denied murdering Mrs Albert on December 16, 2001.

In court today, the jury had still not reached a verdict by 9.45am so Mrs Justice Rafferty sent them back out and said she would accept a majority decision of ten to two or 11 to one.

At 10.55am they were called back in to court. Tension gripped the room, which was packed with members of Hall's family on one side and Mrs Albert's relatives on the other, including her nieces Glynis Dzundza and Lavinia Broome.

Hall's adopted mother Lynn burst into tears before he was led back to the dock for the last time.

Hall, dressed in a pink shirt and a black suit, took a deep breath as the jury foreman told the judge that at least ten jurors had agreed on a verdict.

When he uttered the word "guilty" the court erupted with wails and sobs from Hall's family.

The judge waited for a minute until the noise died down, while Hall looked stunned in the dock.

He put his head in his hands, then looked up and shook his head as his inconsolable mum collapsed into the arms of her family.

Mrs Justice Rafferty asked if anyone would like to leave the court and offered Mrs Hall a glass of water.

Prosecutor Simon Spence revealed that Hall had previously been sentenced to a total of 17 months at a young offenders' institute for assault causing actual bodily harm and wounding. He was sentenced at Bury St Edmund's Crown Court in June 1997.

He said the assault conviction, which had incurred eight months of the sentence, had happened when Hall approached a young man called Martin Russell in McDonalds in Ipswich, pushed him and asked: "What's all this about your dad accusing me of doing it in his car?"

The victim was left with cuts to his ear needing two stitches, a grazed chin and a cracked tooth on January 13, 1997.

Mr Spence added that on January 6, 1997, Hall lay in wait for a man called Stefan Bell outside a doctor's surgery in Ipswich. He went up and said hello, then for no reason punched him in the face and continued kicking him when he fell to the ground, while a co-defendant hit him over the head with a bottle.

After today's murder verdict, Mrs Justice Rafferty said: "Only one sentence is permitted by law and that is life imprisonment."

But she ordered reports to be prepared before officially proclaiming the sentence.

EX-GIRLFRIEND TELLS OF MOOD SWINGS AND VIOLENCE – two pages of background on the killer and his victim only in TONIGHT'S EVENING STAR

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