Shropshire

Hilda Murrell: Killer's cell mate says others involved

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Media captionA former cell mate of the man convicted of murdering Hilda Murrell says he believes he did not act alone

A former cell mate of the man convicted of murdering a Shropshire woman says he believes he did not act alone.

The man, who cannot be named, was in prison with Shrewsbury labourer Andrew George who was convicted in 2005 of murdering Hilda Murrell.

Anti-nuclear campaigner Miss Murrell, 78, was sexually assaulted and stabbed in 1984.

The man said George had spoken at length about her death and said "he did stab her but he wasn't alone".

George, aged 37 in 2005, was given a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 15 years before he could be considered for parole.

'Several names'

Speaking to the BBC, the man who shared a cell with George said: "Over time he trusted me more and more and what I believe was the truth came out.

"He said he did burgle the house, it was a burglary that went wrong - from what I recall they didn't have any intention of killing her.

"He admitted to hurting Hilda and said he did stab her and drove her to the copse but he said there were more people involved."

The man also said George and the other people allegedly involved had wanted money for drugs.

He said: "He mentioned several names and I wrote those names down on a piece of paper and put them in the sole of my shoe so the next time I saw the police I could give them those names.

"I [gave] them to the police but from that moment on they told me to stop talking to George and that was when the trigger happened to move him out of that prison."

In a statement, West Mercia Police said all the information the man had given them had been investigated during the original inquiry.

The statement also said: "There are no new grounds for an investigation at this time, however it is not for West Mercia Police to decide if a case of this kind should be reinvestigated."

'Deserved prison'

In March 1990, double murderer David McKenzie, who was sent to Rampton High Security Hospital for killing two elderly women, confessed to Miss Murrell's murder.

Seven months later, the Director of Public Prosecutions said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against him.

George, a builder's labourer with previous convictions, was arrested and charged in June 2003, after his DNA was found to match samples taken from the scene.

Conspiracy theories which circulated in the period between 1984 and 2005 resurfaced after George's conviction.

Miss Murrell's nephew Rob Green has re-launched a book - entitled A Thorn In Their Side - claiming there is new DNA evidence from his aunt's fingernails, which could acquit George.

George's former cell mate said: "I thought nothing of it until the book came out - certain things never made any sense until I read that book.

"George deserved to be in prison but I genuinely believe he didn't do it alone."

'Major suspects'

But barrister and legal campaigner Michael Mansfield QC, who has taken an interest in the case and knows Mr Green, said others were involved and the role of the security services still needed to be looked at.

"It's perfectly clear others were involved in this and the jury at Andrew George's trial were not made aware of this as far as I know," he said.

"There are ways in which the matter can be investigated even without his [George's] help.

"The major suspects, if you like, are the security services and it seems to me it is time that there was an investigation into their role in this matter."

He added that it was "incredible" that they have no knowledge or will not confirm or deny their involvement.

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