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Teen murderer loses appeal

PUBLISHED: 07:47 24 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

TEENAGER killer Lee Ford is going back to prison for his part in the senseless murder of Simon Williams.

Ford, now 18, was convicted of murder last year at Norwich Crown Court after jurors heard he bludgeoned the 30-year-old graduate with a table leg.

TEENAGER killer Lee Ford is going back to prison for his part in the senseless murder of Simon Williams.

Ford, now 18, was convicted of murder last year at Norwich Crown Court after jurors heard he bludgeoned the 30-year-old graduate with a table leg.

And yesterday three judges at the Court of Appeal in London upheld the conviction.

Martyn Levett, for Ford, led the appeal based on directions given by the judge at the original trial and on the summing up he gave the jury.

Mr Levett said he was unable to effectively cross-examine key prosecution witness Gavin Dighton after the judge ruled contents of police interviews before charges were issued did not have to be disclosed to the defence.

Mr Levett also said Ford's claim that he acted in self defence was not given sufficient weight when the judge advised the jurors.

He told the courts Ford and co-accused Jamie Briggs, who was also convicted of murder, had been followed by Mr Williams on the night of May 10, 2000.

The pair were joined by four friends before Mr Williams was bludgeoned to death in a frenzied attack.

In the original trial Ford claimed he waded into the fray to defend Briggs and then in self defence.

But while Mr Levett accepted jurors had rejected that excuse he said they should have been told that did not automatically mean Ford was guilty of murder.

Mr Levett said the jury's near eight hour deliberations and their eventual 10-2 majority verdict showed they had doubts over the events.

Alastair Malcolm, QC, for the Crown, said the judge in the original trial advised jurors not to convict if they believed Ford had acted in self defence.

And he said jurors were told to regard anything Dighton said in early police discussions as consistent with what he said in the trial.

Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Wright spent just a few minutes considering their verdict. Mr Justice Forbes said the trio were satisfied the judge had acted correctly in the original trial.

He also said Mr Levett had ample opportunity to question Dighton's reliability as a witness with the information he had already received.

Ford reacted with a shrug and a pained look at his family in the gallery before being led out of the dock to resume his sentence at Birmingham prison.

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