Triple murder conviction set for review

A SUFFOLK man convicted of a triple gangland execution today believes he has fresh evidence which could overturn his murder convictions.The new material Jack Whomes, of Brockford, has put before the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has given him renewed hope of a second hearing before the Court of Appeal.

A SUFFOLK man convicted of a triple gangland execution today believes he has fresh evidence which could overturn his murder convictions.

The new material Jack Whomes, of Brockford, has put before the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has given him renewed hope of a second hearing before the Court of Appeal.

The 46-year-old former Stowmarket bouncer has always denied being the hitman who blasted drug barons Pat Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony Tucker to death with a shotgun near Chelmsford in December 1995.

The killings, which occurred in a secluded lane, became known as the Rettendon murders and had a film based on them called Essex Boys starring Sean Bean.

The CCRC today confirmed it was taking a second look at the case. The unusual move came after Whomes, who worked at G and T Commercials in Barham, had submitted what he believes is compelling new evidence revolving around the use of mobile phones on the night of the killings.

He is also said to have submitted objections about elements of his original appeal hearing in February last year.

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A CCRC spokeswoman said: “Mr Whomes recently made a fresh application and we are currently looking at his case again. We referred his case to the Court of Appeal in 2004 and it upheld his conviction.

“We can always re-open a review and if his application potentially raises a new argument then we can refer the case back to the Court of Appeal again.”

Whomes' mother Pam said a CCRC worker has now been allotted to the case and her son was thrilled it had been taken up again.

Mrs Whomes said: “We are over the moon. We have been down this road so many times, but this has come out of the blue. We were not expecting it. This is just wonderful. Jack is highly delighted.

“Jack's been bombarding them (the CCRC) with all the different papers and points to try and get priority.

“It is really looking good because I think they can't refuse us the opportunity to go back to the Court of Appeal. We believe we have a very good case.”

Mrs Whomes claimed her son's team had new mobile telephone evidence from expert David Briscoe which casts doubt on crucial parts of the prosecution case.

Whomes, who is currently serving his sentence in Long Larton, Birmingham, and co-convicted Michael Steele, 63, of Great Bentley, Essex, have consistently denied any part in the killing of gangland enforcers Tate, Tucker and Rolfe.

The evidence of supergrass Darren Nicholls was crucial to the convictions of Whomes and Steele. However, both men have always claimed Nicholls' testimony was tainted.

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