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Thursday, 1 March 2012

TWO men jailed for the notorious “Essex Boys” gangland murders have lost their appeal against life sentences.


16:47 |

 

 Michael Steele, 64, from Great Bentley, and Jack Whomes, 45, from Brockford, Suffolk, were found guilty in 1998 of killing Patrick Tate, Anthony Tucker and Craig Rolfe in Rettendon. A committee of three judges has now rejected their latest appeal. The pair’s legal team alleged evidence given at the original trial by “supergrass” witness Darren Nicholls, who told jurors he was the getaway driver following the murders, was unreliable. They claimed police allowed Nicholls to meet media contacts while he was being held in custody before the trial. It was alleged arrangements were made during this meeting for Nicholls to be paid for his story, which gave him a financial incentive to testify against Steele and Whomes. However, the appeal judges accepted prosecution claims the trial had not been adversely affected. This was because detailed statements had already been taken from Mr Nicholls before he met a reporter and literary agent. As the decision was announced at the Court of Appeal, Steele shouted from the dock: “This is the most corrupt judgment I have ever heard in all my life.” Ads by Google Election Boundary Changes Constituencies are changing. Have your say on our report, Autumn 2013 independent.gov.uk/boundarychanges Boden Spring Collection Boden's New Spring Range Out Now. Shop the Colourful Range Online! www.boden.co.uk Speaking afterwards, Det Supt Kevin Macey said: “The trial and subsequent appeals have shown that the original investigation was sound and robust. “The jury heard all the evidence in great detail and concluded these men were guilty. “The Court of Appeal has now heard all the evidence in great detail and come to the same conclusion.” Steele’s solicitor, Chris Bowen, said: “While I live and breathe and represent Michael Steele I will fight to ensure that he does not die in prison for offences he did not commit. “Mr Steele himself will never admit these offences, because he did not commit them.” Mr Bowen now plans to challenge the ruling in the House of Lords and may even appeal to the European courts. Steele and Whomes had a previous appeal turned down in February 2006. Victims Tate, Tucker and Rolfe were shot dead in a Range Rover, in Rettendon, in 1995, following a gangland drugs dispute. The case became known as the Essex Boys murders, after inspiring a film of that name, starring Sean Bean.


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