Suffolk

Simon Hall confesses to Joan Albert murder 12 years on

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Media captionSimon Hall denied he had murdered Joan Albert for 12 years

A burglar who stabbed a 79-year-old woman to death has confessed to the crime after a decade claiming he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Simon Hall, 35, was jailed for life in 2003 for the attack on Joan Albert at her home in Capel St Mary, Suffolk.

His case was investigated by the BBC series Rough Justice in 2007 and his claims of innocence also won the backing of ex-Ipswich MP Chris Mole.

Police said Hall had now admitted his guilt to prison authorities.

Mrs Albert was found dead in her hallway and had suffered at least five stab wounds inflicted with a carving knife from her kitchen.

Her family said in a statement: "During the last 10 years the publicity surrounding the appeals has been very distressing making moving on impossible.

"But we would like to thank Suffolk Police, including Roy Lambert and his team who carried out the original investigation, to present day officers who continue to support us."

'Brutal crime'

Hall's case had been taken to the Court of Appeal in 2011 but the judges upheld his conviction.

His legal team had cast doubt on fibres evidence used in his trial.

Image caption Joan Albert was found dead in the hallway of her home

In January, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said it was examining a new claim by Hall that he was carrying out a burglary elsewhere on the day Mrs Albert's body was found, but said this had now been dropped.

Retired Det Supt Roy Lambert, who led the original inquiry, said: "I've always been satisfied that he was responsible for killing Joan.

"Lots and lots of people were supporting him, MPs were supporting him and now he's deceived all of them because all along he's known that he's done it."

Suffolk Police said: "We sincerely hope that Simon Hall's admissions to having committed this brutal crime will in some way enable the family to move on with their lives."

Hall's original trial at Norwich Crown Court heard Mrs Albert, a former hairdresser, was the victim of a "sudden, savage and brutal attack" after a burglary attempt went wrong.

Online messages

When Hall, originally of Hill House, Ipswich, was sentenced in 2003, he was given a minimum tariff of 15 years in jail.

Hall's wife Stephanie ran the Justice 4 Simon campaign for many years in an attempt to free him from prison and Hall regularly sent online messages to his supporters.

Image caption Joan Albert lived in Capel St Mary in Suffolk

In the most recent post on the Justice4SimonHall website, which is no longer available to the public, he wrote about how he was preparing to be released from prison.

Last month he said he had been moved to Hollesley Bay open prison in Suffolk and preparations were under way for him to be released to a bail hostel.

But Hall claimed plans for him to be allowed on day release had been blocked after Mrs Albert's family asked that he be excluded from Ipswich because of its proximity to the crime scene.

The Ministry of Justice said a confession by a person serving a life sentence would have "no impact" on the minimum tariff they would have to serve before being considered for release.

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