Triple fire killer Andrew Affleck loses appeal

Image caption, Affleck argued that he did not have a fair trial

A man serving a life sentence for a triple fire murder in Ayrshire has lost a bid to overturn his conviction.

Andrew Affleck, 32, was jailed for a minimum of 23 years over the house fire in Irvine in 2001.

The blaze claimed the lives of Amanda Cooper, 20, Anna Teraysa Murray, 18, and her sister Carrie Marie Murray, 12.

Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal rejected Affleck's claim that he was wrongly convicted after the Crown did not disclose details about a witness.

In his appeal, Affleck alleged his lawyers were unable to properly prepare and present his defence because the Crown failed to reveal outstanding drugs charges faced by Scott Devine.

The Crown relied on him to give evidence that he saw Affleck running away from a fire at a house in Sanderson Avenue, Irvine.

His testimony was required to corroborate the evidence given by Affleck's former girlfriend, Vera Wilson, that he had confessed to fatal fire-raising.

No prejudice

Affleck claimed in the appeal, heard by Lord Clarke, sitting with Lord Mackay and Lord Malcolm, that the failure to disclose Devine's outstanding drug charges breached his right to a fair trial under Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But the judges ruled that the fact that there was no disclosure of the precise nature and full extent of the charges faced by Scott Devine at the time did not result in a real risk of prejudice to his defence and an unfair trial.

Lord Clarke said it was "reasonably clear" that Affleck and his legal team knew that there were pending criminal proceedings against Devine involving drug supply allegations and that could have been explored by his defence counsel at his trial.

The senior judge said they did not consider that there was a real possibility that the jury at Affleck's trial at the High Court in Kilmarnock in 2003 would have reached a different verdict if the outstanding charges against Devine were disclosed.

Affleck was originally ordered to serve at least 27 years for the murders, but the period was reduced to 23 years at an earlier appeal.

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