OAP murder case quashed

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A MAN imprisoned for brutally murdering a Crich-born pensioner has had his case quashed after a Court of Appeal hearing.

Peter Smith, 46, of West Hill, Skegby, was found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court in 2008 of killing 71-year-old Hilda Owen.

The prosecution case at the time suggested that Smith had hit neighbour Hilda 29 times over the head with a claw hammer and a screwdriver.

It was claimed Smith did so to inherit Hilda’s house and pay off mounting debts.

He was jailed for at least 30 years.

But now the Court of Appeal has ruled the reliability of fingerprint evidence used in the trial was not sufficient and there will be a retrial.

Lord Justice Thomas said: “The quality of the reports provided by the Nottinghamshire Fingerprint Bureau for the trial reflected standards that existed in other areas of forensic science some years ago, and not the vastly improved standards expected in contemporary forensic science.”

A date has yet to be set for the retrial.