Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

'Pig case' murderer loses appeal

Martin Baker
Martin Baker claimed he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance

A Surrey man jailed for killing his wife amid fears that he fed her body to their pigs has lost an appeal against his murder conviction.

Martin Baker, now 56, of Egham, was given a life term in 2006 and told to serve at least 14 years.

On Monday, three judges at London's Court of Appeal ruled the original Old Bailey conviction was safe.

His estranged wife, Tina, 41, was last seen heading off to feed the animals at their farm in Chobham in July 2002.

Baker, who claimed he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance, had an application for permission to appeal thrown out by appeal judges on Monday.

Mr Justice Aikens, rejecting the application, said the court was "quite satisfied" that none of Baker's potential grounds of appeal, whether taken singularly or together, "make it arguable that this conviction was unsafe".

Tina Baker
Tina Baker's childhood dream was to have her own farm

The court heard that police carried out an extensive search for the missing woman but found no trace of her.

Pig swill and manure were checked after Baker's first wife, Gillian Hopkins, told police he had threatened her before their divorce and had said he would feed her to the pigs.

Old Bailey judge Paul Focke said Baker lay in wait for his wife when she was due to feed the animals, then killed her and "promptly disposed of her body and car".

After the original trial, Jean Doyle, Mrs Baker's mother, said her daughter was lovely, bubbly and "besotted by animals" and it had been her dream, since she was a little girl, to have her own farm.

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