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Robin Garbutt launches appeal against murder conviction
A SHOPKEEPER found guilty of bludgeoning his postmistress wife to death launched an appeal against his murder conviction today.
Robin Garbutt, 46, formerly of York and Haxby, was jailed for life in April last year and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars before he can apply for parole.
He was present in the dock at the Court of Appeal in London for the proceedings before three leading judges.
It was argued on his behalf that his conviction should now be regarded as unsafe in the light of newly disclosed material, which it was said supported the credibility of his evidence.
At his trial, jurors at Teesside Crown Court heard that he battered his 40-year-old wife Diana, formerly of Selby, to death in their bedroom before opening their post office and shop in the picture-postcard North Yorkshire village of Melsonby as normal.
His case was that a raider with a gun told him don't do anything stupid, we've got your wife before robbing him as he worked, and that moments later he discovered his wife's body in bed in their living quarters.
Opposing the appeal move, the prosecution told Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Hedley and Mr Justice Maddison, that there was strong and cogent evidence demonstrating that there was no intruder and that the fresh material did not impact on the safety of the conviction.
When sentencing Garbutt, the trial judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, said his version of events was a ludicrous story from beginning to end.
Garbutt's sister, Sallie Wood, of North Yorkshire, has said in a statement: "We hope this appeal will result in the overturning of this terrible miscarriage of justice.
"If there is any justice in the world Robin's conviction will be quashed and he will walk free.
"My family has been devastated by the events of the last two years but we have all drawn strength from Robin, who despite being convicted of a crime he didn't commit, has fought - and will continue to fight - to clear his name.
"Somewhere out there is the person - or persons - that murdered Di and who is to say they won't do it again.
"We hope that whoever they are they will eventually be caught and brought to justice."
After hearing submissions on behalf of Garbutt and the Crown, the judges reserved their decision to a date to be fixed.