Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK


UK

Man freed after historic retrial

Alexander Hall speaks to reporters outside the court

A former policeman who faced an historic second trial for the murder of a secretary has walked free.

Alexander Hall faced a repeat trial after the appeal court in Edinburgh quashed his original conviction for the murder of Lanarkshire woman Lorna Porter 15 years ago.


BBC Scotland's Reevel Alderson reports
A tearful Mr Hall, 44, who spent 11 years in jail for the murder, told reporters outside the court he had never given up hope that he would be acquitted.

The jury, at the end of a 16-day trial, found the case not proven.

At a second attempted appeal in Edinburgh last December, judges quashed his conviction but in an unusual move Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Cullen, ordered a retrial because of a miscarriage of justice.


[ image: Lorna Porter was found stabbed to death near a rail line]
Lorna Porter was found stabbed to death near a rail line
The judges said new evidence would have been significant had the original trial jury had the opportunity to hear it in February 1998. It was alleged a key prosecution witness had lied at his trial.

They ruled that the Crown Office could not be held responsible for the alleged perjury and left the way open for a retrial.

Mr Hall, a former Strathclyde Police officer, was not allowed bail and the Crown served a fresh indictment on him in Perth prison.

Mr Hall, who had also served in the Royal Marines, denied murdering 18-year-old Miss Porter by cutting her throat with a knife at his former home in Thorn Road, Bellshill, in September 1984.

The jury heard that the victim, from Holytown, was engaged to the brother of Mr Hall's wife.

His original appeal against conviction was refused in 1989 but in February last year the Scottish Secretary referred the case back to the Court of Criminal Appeal.


[ image: The place where Lorna Porter's body was discovered]
The place where Lorna Porter's body was discovered
The jury at the retrial heard that Mr Hall had confessed to Miss Porter's murder while in prison, something he denied.

] It was alleged he had told how he learned to kill with his bare hands as a commando.

But the jury at Edinburgh High Court brought a verdict of not proven by a majority verdict after five hours of deliberation.

Outside the court, a tearful Mr Hall said: "I am just stunned but I have not cleared my name, the fight will go on.

"I have lost my wife, I have lost my kids, I have lost everything, I have been attacked in jail, spat at, everything has happened to me.

"I will just have to go and have a drink or something."

Prison term

Mr Hall would not comment on whether he would seek compensation after serving such a long prison term.

Miss Porter's father, George, said he did not wish to comment at the end of the trial.

Miss Porter was a friend of Mr Hall's then wife Patricia and had just become engaged to her brother, Thomas Donnelly, the day before her body was found.

Strathclyde Police, which carried out the investigation, said it would be inappropriate to comment until it has studied the court notes.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online