Killer's jail cut - but fight goes on

The fiancée of convicted wife killer Nicholas Tucker last night welcomed a significant reduction in his jail sentence which fuelled hopes of a successful appeal.

The fiancée of convicted wife killer Nicholas Tucker last night welcomed a significant reduction in his jail sentence which fuelled hopes of a successful appeal.

The former RAF Honington officer and his family have vigorously protested his innocence following his trial and murder conviction in 1997.

Three Court of Appeal judges yesterday deducted a year off his 12-year term because of the squadron leader's "exceptional" behaviour.

Jenny Peacock, 55, from Thetford, who met her fiancé while he was on bail awaiting trial for the murder of his wife Carol, said she was "very pleased" but was still fighting to clear his name.

"It is brilliant news and Nicholas is pleased. I do not know the ins and outs about what happened in court but I am told that some of the things the judge said were quite significant, which gives us hope for an appeal. To give him a year off without an admission of guilt is quite unusual. He is innocent and we are still carrying on with an appeal," she said.

Tucker, a decorated officer at the Suffolk RAF base, was sentenced to life following a trial at Norwich Crown Court. Jurors heard his wife Carol, 52, was found lying face down in a river at Lackford, near Bury St Edmunds, in July 1995 after the couple's car left the road.

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The prosecution claimed Tucker throttled his wife and held her under the water before staging the accident to cover his tracks.

But he said he veered off the road to avoid two deer and what happened was a pure accident.

It was alleged in the trial that Tucker was infatuated with a Serbian interpreter he met during a tour of duty with the UN.

Tucker, now 55, whose case has been featured in a Channel 4 documentary, lost a challenge to his "unsafe" conviction in 1998.

A fresh appeal is being reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission but yesterday's result means that Tucker could be released in 2008.

Reducing his term, Lord Justice Latham said: "Since he has been in prison he has not only been - as would be expected from his background - of no trouble to the authorities but he has clearly provided substantial assistance and help to the authorities."

"He is also considered to be the sort of model prisoner who can be trusted to talk to other prisoners about his prison experience in order to assist them to come to terms with prison."