Eddie Gilfoyle's wife's diaries 'held by police'

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Media captionEddie Gilfoyle says a police decision to withhold his wife's diaries from his murder trial was "disgraceful"

Diaries that could have helped clear a man convicted of murdering his wife were kept by police for at least 17 years, it has been claimed.

Eddie Gilfoyle was sentenced to life in 1993 for killing wife Paula, found hanged while heavily pregnant in the garage of their home in Upton, Wirral.

He served 18 years in jail and was released on parole in 2010.

It has emerged that police held two of Mrs Gilfoyle's diaries which allegedly show she had suicidal thoughts.

It is not known whether the diaries, locked away in a metal box in the family home, were found during the original investigation or in 1994 when Lancashire Police reviewed the murder investigation.

The diaries of Mrs Gilfoyle, who was eight months pregnant when she died in June 1992, were handed over to Gilfoyle's legal team in August 2010 by Merseyside Police.

'Completely devastated'

Gilfoyle, 50, was convicted after the prosecution claimed he had made his wife's death look like a suicide by forcing her to write a note.

His trial was told he persuaded her to put a noose around her own neck and climb a ladder.

He always protested his innocence but lost two appeals, in 1995 and 2000.

His trial was told his wife would not have committed suicide and she was happy and bubbly, despite a suicide note found written in her hand.

Gilfoyle said: "I am completely devastated that the police had these diaries and failed to hand them over to my defence.

"They should have been disclosed prior to my two appeals but they were kept hidden.

Image caption Paula Gilfoyle was found hanged in Upton in 1992

"This is just one example of withholding vital evidence in my case for which I did not receive a fair trial.

"The minister for justice should be asking why this evidence was never disclosed to the defence until August 2010.

"I do hope now there will be a swift referral of my case by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Court of Appeal."

He added: "I want my conviction overturned and the truth out, there are no excuses now, no excuses whatsoever.

"It is the least the system can do having destroyed me for 20 years.

"I am not confident that will happen but they have the opportunity to do the right thing.

"I am disgusted, I can't find the words to explain, they have sat on these diaries for so long."

Gilfoyle said he had been "framed" and his "sole goal" was to clear his name.

"I want the public to see I am an innocent man," he added.

"Merseyside Police messed the scene up on the night and destroyed evidence on the night.

"They have destroyed me and my family."

Gilfoyle's solicitor Matt Foot said: "I was stunned when Merseyside Police suddenly provided to me these diaries from a locked black metal box in August 2010 at Bebington police station.

"Mr Gilfoyle has protested his innocence for 19 years. Meanwhile the police have held on to a locked box containing material that directly contradicts their case. How has this happened?"

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on this case which is currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission."

A spokesman for the Criminal Cases Review Commission confirmed it launched an investigation into the new material in February 2011 but was unable to specify how long it would take to report.

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