Killer of Romford teen Luke Harwood has ‘arguable’ case for appeal

Emma Hall

Emma Hall - Credit: Archant

A woman serving a life sentence over the savage murder of Romford teenager Luke Harwood has won the first stage of her fight to clear her name.

Murdered: Luke Harwood

Murdered: Luke Harwood - Credit: Archant

Luke, 18, was kicked and stamped to death after he was wrongly accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012 – the allegation was retracted and he was never prosecuted for any crime.

In April 2013, Emma Jayne Hall, 23, was convicted with her boyfriend, Tony O’Toole, 31 and James Peter Danby, 28, of his murder.

They trio were jailed for life, but all three bid to clear their name at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

Lord Justice Bean, considering the appeals with Mr Justice Stewart and Judge Peter Collier QC, said Hall had an “arguable” case for overturning her conviction, but rejected O’Toole and Danby’s claims their convictions were “unsafe”.

James Danby

James Danby - Credit: Archant

The court heard Hall and O’Toole lived together at a house in Crow Lane, Romford, when Luke moved in, in May 2012.

He was pointed out as a man accused of raping a younger acquaintance of Hall and subjected to a violent assault.

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Danby beat Luke senseless before taking him with O’Toole and Hall in a car to an alleyway in Woodford Green.

Hall, the driver, stayed in the car while Luke was taken out of sight and stamped to death by Danby.

Tony O'Toole

Tony O'Toole - Credit: Archant

Danby was convicted of killing Luke with stamps, the others on the basis of joint enterprise.

Appealing on Wednesday Max Hill QC, representing Hall, argued he had wrongly been denied the chance to quiz a witness at the trial.

He told judges he wanted to ask O’Toole’s solicitor about a conference with his client that could have resulted in important material about whether O’Toole had made up some of his evidence.

No date was set for the appeal.