In 1993 Eddie Gilfoyle was convicted of murdering his wife, Paula Gilfoyle, who was 8½ months pregnant. He served 18 years in prison and was released in December 2010 subject to conditions, which if breached, could see him recalled to prison.
The Case of Eddie Gilfoyle, published by the Eddie Gilfoyle Support Group, argues that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. Gilfoyle has always maintained that his wife’s death was by suicide.
In 1993 Graham Gooch of Lancashire police was appointed by the Police Complaints Authority to reinvestigate the case. His report, submitted in July 1994, was highly critical of the way Merseyside Police dealt with the initial investigation. Gilfoyle’s lawyers were only granted limited access to parts of this report just days before his first appeal hearing.
An internal review was carried out by Ted Humphreys of Merseyside Police in August 1992 but not disclosed to Gilfoyle’s solicitors before his trial in 1993. This concluded that “even basic procedures were not adhered to” and that there was a “lack of scene preservation and destruction of potential evidence.”
The pamphlet sets out in detail the findings of both these reports and the serious and shocking errors committed in the police investigation that led to Gilfoyle’s conviction.
At the trial and two subsequent appeal hearings, the judges held an assumption that suicides during pregnancy are rare. The pamphlet reveals that more recent studies have found that suicide is the leading cause of maternal death, with the majority of such cases occurring during late pregnancy.
At the Court of Appeal in 2000, and in the face of overwhelming evidence that Paula Gilfoyle had not died the way the prosecution said she had, the court stated that “it is immaterial precisely how he killed her” and in dismissing his appeal relied solely on the evidence of Paula Gilfoyle’s state of mind before her death.
Evidence given at trial that Paula Gilfoyle was a lively and bubbly character who was “happy and looking forward to the birth of the child” in the months leading up to her death was treated by both appeal courts as evidence that she could not have committed suicide.
In August 2010 Eddie Gilfoyle’s solicitor, Matt Foot, discovered evidence which had not been disclosed to the lawyers at either of his appeals. Diaries kept by Paula Gilfoyle from the age of 12 suggest that she had, in fact, a troubled past and had previously attempted suicide.
This evidence has been submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and Gilfoyle awaits a decision as to whether his conviction will be referred to the Court of Appeal for a third time.
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