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Inquest into death of killer Simon Hall in Norfolk jail adjourned until next year

PUBLISHED: 12:15 09 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:15 09 October 2015

Simon Hall, a killer who spent a decade claiming he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice before admitting his guilt. Photo: Suffolk Police/PA Wire

Simon Hall, a killer who spent a decade claiming he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice before admitting his guilt. Photo: Suffolk Police/PA Wire

Archant

The inquest into the death of a prisoner who was found dead in his cell after he admitted killing a 79-year-old has been adjourned until next year at the request of his widow.

Joan Albert was found dead in the hallway of her Suffolk home with stab wounds. Photo: Suffolk PoliceJoan Albert was found dead in the hallway of her Suffolk home with stab wounds. Photo: Suffolk Police

Simon Hall was found unresponsive in his cell at HMP Wayland, near Thetford, at 5.25am on February 23 last year, months after he confessed to killing Joan Albert at her home in Capel St Mary on December 16, 2001.

The 36-year-old was sentenced to life in prison at Norwich Crown Court in February 2003 for stabbing Mrs Albert.

He claimed he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and spent 11 years battling to clear his name as part of a campaign spear-headed by his wife Stephanie.

But Hall, formerly of Hill House Road, in Ipswich, admitted his guilt in 2013 when he was an inmate at Hollesley Bay prison near Woodbridge.

A five day inquest into his death was due to take place next month but has been adjourned until next year.

A pre-inquest hearing held in Norwich heard that Mrs Hall was suffering from PTSD and would be “undergoing a period of treatment from now until April next year”.

Tom Stoate, counsel for Mrs Hall, said the condition was having an impact on her daily life and meant she would not be able to play an “active part” in proceedings which could “undermine” public confidence in this case.

Mr Stoate, who admitted it was “very, very rare” for someone representing a family member to ask for a delay but urged the coroner to grant his application for an adjournment until after her treatment.

The hearing heard from Shaun Hall, the brother of the deceased, who objected to any adjournment.

He said: “This has gone on for quite a long time already and it’s had its toll on everyone.”

Claire Palmer, for the Ministry of Justice, said she that even if the adjournment was granted she was concerned whether they would be any further forward and if Mrs Hall would still be in a position to give evidence.

Senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake, who had refused a request for a previous adjournment, said she was concerned about the need for the case to be dealt with promptly and expeditiously.

But despite the concerns Mrs Lake agreed to grant the application for adjournment because if at all possible Mrs Hall should be able to “take a full part” in the inquest.

The coroner requested an update on Mrs Hall’s condition be provided in writing in January and said a further pre inquest hearing will be held before the full inquest which is expected to take place in June.

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