Whomes family protest

NINE years to the day since his murder arrest, convicted Suffolk killer Jack Whomes' family were today staging a protest in a bid to speed his appeal process.

NINE years to the day since his murder arrest, convicted Suffolk killer Jack Whomes' family were today staging a protest in a bid to speed his appeal process.

Complete with a skeleton in a wardrobe, they were planning to stake out Essex Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offices, in Chelmsford, for most of the day.

They were also handing out posters arguing the 44-year-old's innocence.

Along with Michael Steele, 62, of Great Bentley, Whomes, of Brockford, was handed a triple life sentence in 1998 for the gangland murders of Patrick Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe.

The three men were killed in a country lane in Rettendon, near Chelmsford, in December 1995.

In December, the Criminal Case Review Commission decided the case would be referred to the Court of Appeal, boosting Whomes' hopes of being released.

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A bail application in March failed, with the judge claiming it was too early and called for more work to be done on the bid.

But Whomes' family claim their legal team has been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the prosecution team.

Jack's brother, John, from Gislingham, said the aim of today's protest was to highlight this issue

He said: "When we had the last court appearance for the bail application, the judge said it was premature because there's more paperwork to complete.

"He said he'd consider it again once we'd got that paperwork, but that is in the hands of the CPS.

"They won't give us disclosure. The reason we're taking wardrobe with a skeleton is to protest and to let everyone know what they're doing."

John will be accompanied by his mother, Pam, sister, Jayne, and brother, William.

Pam, 68, of Finningham, said she was planning to hand in a letter to the CPS outlining the family's grievances.

She said: "We feel let down because it's holding us up in putting in another bail application.

"We thought the only way we could do something was to get to the CPS and state our feelings. It's about time something was done."

No one was available to comment from Essex Crown Prosecution Service said.

Whomes' and Steeles' conviction followed one of the longest and most expensive trials ever, lasting more than five months and costing £1.5million.

The prosecution claimed the three victims were shot dead following a dispute over a smuggled shipment of poor quality cannabis.

Much of the case hinged on the evidence of 'supergrass' Darren Nicholls, which Whomes' lawyers claim is unreliable.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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