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Hitman bids to overturn conviction

PUBLISHED: 17:33 16 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

A Norfolk mechanic hired as a hitman to murder a publican's wife has mounted a second bid to overturn his murder conviction. Richard Bates hopes an appeal will cast doubt on DNA evidence which helped secure his conviction for the murder of landlady Marilyn Garside.

A Norfolk mechanic hired as a hitman to murder a publican's wife has mounted a second bid to overturn his murder conviction.

Richard Bates, 54, of Castle Acre Road, Great Massingham, near Fakenham, hopes an appeal will cast doubt on DNA evidence which helped secure his conviction for the murder of landlady Marilyn Garside.

Bates was jailed for life three years ago for fatally stabbing Mrs Garside on the doorstep of her elderly mother's home in Romford, Essex in October 2001.

She opened the door to Bates, who posed as a stranger asking for help, and was repeatedly stabbed in the chest and neck.

Also convicted of murder was her husband, James Garside, 57, of Ullswater Avenue, King's Lynn, who paid Bates to kill his wife.

The jury heard Bates was crippled with debt and took up Garside's offer of £4000 to drive to Essex and kill his wife.

Garside had often boasted that he wanted her dead so he could have the entire proceeds from the sale of the couple's Cross Keys pub in Redgrave, near Diss and then live in luxury with his mistress.

He went bowling in Lynn at the time of her murder, some 125 miles away, but mobile phone calls between the two men linked them to the scene.

Before the pair's retrial last year, Garside had then written to Marilyn's family from his prison cell to boast he would “reveal the truth” during his retrial.

He then told jurors one of his lovers confessed she had set up the contract killing so they could live together on a £200,000 inheritance.

But they rejected his new story and both were found guilty of murder and told they must serve at least 20 years in prison before being considered for parole.

During both trials, the prosecution claimed Bates' DNA was found on the front door handle and on the latch of a garden gate, but his lawyers have consistently sought to cast doubt on this forensic evidence.

The DNA issue was raised in London's Appeal Court yesterday, when Bates' QC, Charles Miskin, claimed much of the DNA evidence was inadmissible or unreliable.

After hearing two-and-a-half hours of intricate argument Lord Justice Moore-Bick - sitting with Mr Justice Burton and Judge Sir Richard Curtis - reserved judgement in the case and will now give their ruling at a later, unspecified, date.


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