40 year fight against murder conviction

John Heibner, who was convicted of a murder nearly 40 years ago, has lost his latest appeal to prove his innocence.  His appeal against his conviction for murdering Beatrice Gold has been refused by the Justices at the Court of Appeal.

The circumstances surrounding the conviction are that Beatrice Gold was shot dead in the basement office of the clothing business she ran with her husband in Clerkenwell, London in 1975.  Gold had been at the office with her husband, Eric, and their colleague, Sheila Brown. At the end of the day Eric Gold and Brown went shopping. When they returned to the office Beatrice Gold was dead, she had been shot three times with a .32 revolver.

John Heibner was known to police as a criminal operating in the area, and was facing a 15-year sentence for an armed robbery which he had admitted. After signing a confession, John Heibner’s case went to trial.  He later retracted his confession during the trial as he said he only signed this because he understood his girlfriend would be released without charge if he did so.  John Heibner was convicted of Gold’s murder and jailed for life. He served 25 years in prison but protested his innocence throughout and has continued this since his release.

John Heibner campaigned his case and argued it rested solely on his confession. Mr Heibner’s first appeal against conviction took place in 1978 and was dismissed, however Lord Justice Shaw suggested the Home Secretary should investigate the circumstances of the case.

The case went to the Court of Appeal last December.  In their judgment the Justices concluded that they saw nothing to make them doubt the safety of the conviction.

John Heibner remains determined to continue with his campaign and it may not be the last that is heard of him. His case has been labeled one of Britain’s longest-running miscarriages of justice.

Appealing against convictions can be a very complex area of law. Here at Emery Johnson Astills we have a highly experienced team who can advise you regarding appeals against convictions or sentences.