Surrey

Brookwood Cemetery boss in fight for court costs

Tombstone in Brookwood Cemetery
Image caption Erkin Guney took over Brookwood Cemetery on the death of his father

A Surrey cemetery boss who was found not guilty of soliciting murder is trying to retrieve tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.

Erkin Guney, managing director of Brookwood Cemetery - Britain's largest - was cleared in May 2009 of soliciting the murder of Diane Holliday.

But the Old Bailey judge refused to pay his defence costs from public funds.

The case reached the High Court in London on Friday, where a QC argued that the judge had acted unreasonably.

Isabella Forshall QC said an acquitted defendant was normally allowed his costs, which were only blocked in exceptional circumstances.

Ms Holliday was the lover of Mr Guney's late father, Ramadan, who died in November 2006.

He was buried at Brookwood, in Woking, where Mr Guney is now managing director.

Undercover officer

The Old Bailey jury was told at his trial that Erkin Guney had hired a hitman to kill Ms Holliday to stop her claiming his father's fortune.

The hitman turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Mr Guney told the jury he had realised he was being set up from the start.

In the High Court on Friday, Louis Weston, representing the Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid scheme in England, defended the judge's decision not to award Mr Guney his costs.

He said that Mr Guney, having become the subject of a covert operation, deliberately led the police to believe he wished to bring about Ms Holliday's murder.

Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Mackay at the High Court, reserved judgment to a later date.

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