Manchester

Woman who murdered aunt criticises justice review board

A woman convicted of murdering her aunt has criticised the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which looks into possible miscarriages of justice.

Susan May, 65, served 12 years of a life sentence in jail for smothering to death Hilda Marchbank at her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, in 1992.

She has always said she is innocent but has had two appeals dismissed.

May, out of prison on licence, is going to Westminster to hear a debate about whether the CCRC is fit for purpose.

She has had two appeals turned down, in 1997 and 2001. After the last appeal, the CCRC refused to refer the conviction back to the Court of Appeal.

Since then she has been lobbying the commission to allow her a third appeal.

May was the main carer for Mrs Marchbank, a widow who lived alone in Royton.

Image caption Hilda Marchbank had been beaten and suffocated

At her trial in 1993, the prosecution said May had been having a secret affair, was heavily in debt and murdered the pensioner for her inheritance.

The prosecution said a mark in blood found on the wall of Mrs Marchbank's house matched May's fingerprints.

The evidence was strongly contested at the trial and both appeals, and was also the subject of the CCRC's latest review, together with statements made by police officers at the time.

However, the CCRC decided that there was not a "real possibility" that the Court of Appeal would quash May's conviction.

She said: "Every time I've been to court, trial and two appeals, only fragments of my case have been heard, not the whole picture.

"The CCRC has been active since 1997, so at the very least it needs reviewing.

"Bodies like that have to be subject to scrutiny."

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