Thursday, November 05, 2009

British 'Beauty in the bath' strangler could be freed after 10 years as new evidence is found

"Lost" police file!

Dramatic new evidence could free the businessman convicted of the ‘beauty in the bath’ murder, it was claimed last night. Forensic evidence which was never seen by the jury could help overturn John Taft’s conviction, his solicitor said. The information – including fingerprints found at the scene – was in a police file that was missing for more than a decade.

It resurfaced a month ago and officials from the Forensic Science Service contacted Taft’s lawyers. The former double glazing boss, 59, is serving a life sentence for the murder of beautician Cynthia Bolshaw, who was found strangled in the bath at her home in 1983.

For 16 years police were baffled by the killing of the vivacious divorcee, who had several lovers and whose diaries included the names of more than 200 male friends. However, they moved to arrest Taft in 1999 after his ex-wife Barbara admitted giving him a false alibi for the night of Mrs Bolshaw’s death.

Taft’s DNA was discovered on Mrs Bolshaw’s negligee and he admitted having sex with her hours before she died. But he claimed she was alive when he left her bungalow, in Heswall, Wirral. He told the jury he asked his wife to give him an alibi because he had been doing unofficial work for Mrs Bolshaw, 50, and feared he would be framed for the crime. Taft was convicted by a ten to two majority. He has spent the past ten years in jail but has always protested his innocence.

Last night it emerged that the police forensic file, which went missing soon after Mrs Bolshaw’s murder and was not available at Taft’s original trial at Liverpool Crown Court in November 1999, has been found.

Taft’s solicitor, David Kirwan, said the file proves his client has been the victim of a ‘serious miscarriage of justice’. Mr Kirwan said he would be asking the Court of Appeal early next year to either quash Taft’s conviction or order a re-trial. ‘I am extremely concerned that this is one of the most serious miscarriages of justice I have come across in more than 40 years as a criminal solicitor,’ Mr Kirwan said. ‘Fundamental mistakes were made both before and during the trial which meant that a lot of vital evidence was simply not presented to the jury. ‘We believe we will be able to not only show that John Taft could not have been the murderer but also point the finger of suspicion at another visitor to Cynthia Bolshaw’s house on the night of her murder.’

Mr Kirwan claimed that a fingerprint discovered on a windowsill at Mrs Bolshaw’s home was never properly investigated. He also said fibres discovered in Mrs Bolshaw’s car and on one of her stockings matched fibres off trousers of two other suspects, but were never acted upon.

Discrepancies in the exact time of Mrs Bolshaw’s death – the doctor who examined her body died before he could give evidence at Taft’s trial – would also prove it was impossible for Taft to be her killer, Mr Kirwan added.

Taft’s second wife Susan, who married him just 19 days before he was arrested for Mrs Bolshaw’s murder, in April 1999, has stuck by her husband over the past decade. Last night Mrs Taft, 60, was unavailable for comment. However, a source close to her said: ‘Sue is very excited and encouraged by the discovery of the forensic file. ‘She has never wavered in her belief in his innocence.’

Original report here

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was there any indication of just why the crime scene was so bizarre in this case. Killed on the bed, but placed in a bathtub while wearing jewelry? FG