Killer loses bid to widen appeal case

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WIFE killer Malcolm Webster has failed in a court bid for new grounds of appeal.

Webster was jailed for 30 years for murdering Claire Morris in Aberdeenshire in 1994, and plotting to kill second wife Felicity Drumm in New Zealand five years later.

He was granted leave to appeal against the sentence in Jaunary after his lawyers argued the term was “excessive”, and then launched a challenge against his conviction.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh on Wednesday of last week, Webster’s counsel Chris Shead said leave to appeal had been granted on five grounds, but contended that three others previously rejected should be included.

Lord Carloway. sitting with Lady Smith and Lord Osborne, turned down the motion. He said the judges were “not satisfied” that cause had been shown for leave to be granted for grounds of appeal rejected at earlier stages.

They also refused an application by Mr Shead for transcripts of the expert evidence in the case. The judges said the court needed to be provided with a “much clearer” indication of the dispute about the evidence.

The case was continued for three weeks for Webster’s counsel to prepare an application.

The former nurse was jailed last year following a four-month trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was convicted of murdering first wife Claire in a car fire near Oldmeldrum, and trying to kill second wife Felicity in another car crash in 1999 in Auckland.

Webster was jailed for at least 30 years for the offences, which were committed as part of a plot to claim nearly £1million in life assurance.

Lord Bannatyne said he had committed “cold-blooded, brutal and callous” crimes for financial gain.

Lawyers for Webster have indicated he could try to secure his release while he attempts to clear his name. No bail application was made at last week’s hearing.