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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Ex-girlfriend released from Bamber appeal
Julie Smerchanski, nee Mugford
Julie Smerchanski flew in from Canada
The former girlfriend of Jeremy Bamber, who is appealing against his murder convictions, was released without having to give evidence at the hearing on Thursday.

Julie Smerchanski, formerly Mugford, was a crucial prosecution witness at Bamber's trial in 1986, saying he boasted he planned to kill his parents and collect his 500,000 inheritance.

Mrs Smerchanski flew in from her home in Canada, but was later released as a witness by the three judges.

Bamber has always denied he shot his mother, father, sister and twin nephews at their farmhouse at Tolleshunt D'Arcy in Essex.

Legal submissions

It had been expected that Mrs Smerchanski, 37, would be called by the Crown to be cross-examined by Bamber's barrister on the sixth day of the hearing.

Lord Justice Kay, Mr Justice Wright and Mr Justice Henriques gave permission for her to be called, but no application was made for her to do so.

After the lunchtime adjournment, and following submissions from lawyers for both parties, she was released as a witness.

Newspaper fee

Bamber claims in his appeal that police tried to bolster Mrs Smerchanski's image, as she was their star witness.

The appeal hearing has been told that the case of Bamber was built on a "series of deceits".

It has been claimed during the hearing that she had intended to sell her story to the News of the World for 25,000 before the trial and not afterwards.

Bamber contends his sister Sheila Caffell shot dead her parents and sons before turning the gun on herself.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.


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23 Oct 02 | England
22 Oct 02 | England
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