Romford killer fails in bid to overturn murder conviction

A ROMFORD man serving a life sentence for his part in a caravan park knife murder today (Friday November 5) failed in a Court of Appeal bid to clear his name.

Rickie Jay Rowley, 33, of Rosedale Road, was caged for life last December after an Ipswich Crown Court jury found him guilty of murdering father-of-two Barry Lane.

He was jailed alongside then 19-year-old Sean Luscombe, of Clacton, who was said to have been Rowley’s partner-in-crime in the stabbing.

Today, Rowley launched an appeal, but had his “unarguable” case thrown out of court by top judges, Lord Justice Gross, Mr Justice Hedley and Mr Justice Ramsey.

The prosecution case alleged that Rowley and Luscombe went to Highfields Park, Clacton, where they got into an argument with Mr Lane on August 27, 2006. Mr Lane, 28, died from a stab wound to his chest.

Today, his lawyers argued that the jury’s guilty verdicts were “unsafe” and should be overturned.

The trial judge had not directed the jury properly about how sure they needed to be to convict him and about whether he might have been guilty only of manslaughter, the judges were told.

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And the crown court judge had also wrongly allowed evidence of a witness - who said he heard someone shouting “get a blade, do him again” - to go before the jury.

But Mr Justice Hedley said the judge’s summing up had been “unquestionably fair and balanced” and he had been correct to allow the jury to consider the evidence.

“In our view, this evidence was properly admitted as both probative and relevant and was correctly left to the jury on the basis that it was safe for them to consider it,” he said.

Rowley will serve at least 17 years in prison before he can even apply to the Parole Board for release. He will only then be freed if he is considered safe.