Thursday, May 21, 2015

Innocent man whose marriage fell apart in the 11 years he was suspected of murdering 74-year-old woman celebrates conviction of the REAL killer by remarrying his ex-wife

An innocent man whose marriage fell apart in the 11 years he was suspected of murdering a 74-year-old woman has celebrated the conviction of the real killer by remarrying his ex-wife.

Phil and Jill Williams, from Camelford, Cornwall, divorced in 2008, five years after Mr Williams was arrested on suspicion of strangling pensioner Joan Roddam.

Although Mr Williams, 54, was never charged with the crime, which occurred in November 2003, he remained a suspect for 11 years.

He has now been cleared of any wrongdoing after neighbour Patrick Curran was convicted of the 74-year-old's murder and jailed for life.

Truro Crown Court heard how Curran, 38, strangled Mrs Roddam after she spurned his sexual advances. He was arrested at the time but it took a decade until he was convicted following a DNA breakthrough.

During that period, Mr Williams remained under suspicion from Devon and Cornwall Police because he was the one who discovered Mrs Roddam's body.

The delivery driver was arrested shortly after raising the alarm when he found Mrs Roddam's isolated bungalow empty in November 2003.

She had been strangled and hidden partially undressed underneath a wheelbarrow in the field behind her Cornish house, police later discovered.

Mr Williams was questioned for three days and bailed until April 2004, but days before he was due to reappear, police told him he was no longer needed. He spent the following 11 years waiting anxiously because he was never officially cleared as a suspect.

Due to the stress of the arrest, his 50-year-old wife was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and the couple got divorced in 2008.

She said: 'Things were going downhill. I stopped working even though I loved my job. Both of us were depressed, I just didn't want to live here anymore.'

However, following the conviction of Curran, the couple have now got back together and remarried on the anniversary of their divorce on May 10.

They were joined by their family, including their four children, and two close friends when they exchanged their vows for the second time at St Nectans Glen, near Tintagel, Cornwall.

Mr Williams said after the ceremony that he had finally got his life back and felt getting remarried to Jill was the perfect way to put what happened in the past behind them. He said: 'It feels a bit strange getting married to Jill again, and I hope this time she will behave herself. 'She's a wonderful woman and it's great to be back to normal again.'

He described the last decade as 'like a bad dream'. 'It was frightening. I thought I was going to have a heart attack,' he said. 'At the time, the police interviewed all my customers and friends, and although trade didn't drop off I had everyone asking me about what was happening.'

Mrs Williams said it was now time for the couple to move on from the incident but insisted she always knew her husband was innocent. She said: 'I never thought in a million years that Phil was involved.

'I was 100 per cent sure he had nothing to do with it, and I always said to all our customers that when we were free of all this, I'd fly the Union Jack from the bedroom window, which was exactly what I did.

'I think in time, Phil will get over it, but what happened will always be with us, we'll never be able to erase something like that from our memories, but we are beginning to look forward to better things now.'

During sentencing for Curran, Judge Graham Cottle described the decision to arrest Mr Williams as 'incomprehensible'.

The case's conclusion brought to an end more than a decade of turmoil for Mr Williams, who was originally arrested after police became suspicious of his nervous demeanour and saw that he had cuts on his arms.

He had arrived at Mrs Roddam's house on the evening of her murder to drop off her groceries and a lottery ticket, which he picked up for her every two weeks.

When there was no answer, he had tried to open the door - which was unlocked - and found no one inside.

Worried for her safety, he flagged down a St John Ambulance, which was passing by on the way to a fireworks display, and telephoned others, including his wife, to help him.

Police found the pensioner's body three hours later in a field behind her home and she was covered with a blanket from the conservatory that she used as a bed for her cat.

The following day, Mr Williams found police waiting for him when he arrived home from a Remembrance Sunday service.

He said: 'Joan was not just a customer, she was a friend. I would never harm anyone.'

Earlier this year, Truro Crown Court heard that Mrs Roddam’s killer Curran, who was 27 at the time of the murder, had images saved on his computer depicting elderly women having sex with young men and had visited 151 'granny porn' websites.

The court heard that he burned some of his clothes and a computer hard drive on the day he killed his elderly neighbour.

A bloodstain on the blanket used to cover her up revealed DNA which was 'one billion times' more likely to belong to Curran than another man.

A post mortem showed Mrs Roddam, who lived alone at the remote bungalow, had been strangled and suffered numerous other injuries to her head and body.

Original report here

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