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The BBC's Jonathan Lampon
"Pathologist failed to mention a skull fracture"
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Concrete coffin' couple released
Scales of Justice
The Court of Appeal has cleared the couple
Doubts about a Home Office pathologist's court evidence has led to the release of a couple who were jailed for killing a kebab shop owner and entombing him in a block of concrete.

Serena Kayretli, 22, and her Turkish husband Veydat, 27, who lived in Maldon, Essex, were jailed in December 1998 for killing 35-year-old Fezvi Demir.

The kebab shop owner's decomposed body was discovered when a builder used a hammer to break up a coffin-shaped concrete block at a fast food restaurant in Maldon.


She has been through an awful trauma

Serena Kayreti's lawyer

But the Court of Appeal has now cleared the couple and declared their convictions for manslaughter unsafe after fears the evidence of pathologist Dr Paula Lanas was unreliable.

The couple's trial heard allegations that Mrs Kayretli had once had an affair with the victim, and that her husband had killed him as a matter of honour.

Watched by Home Office

Dr Lanas had told the jury Mr Demir died from a stab wound.

But she failed to mention a skull fracture which suggested the possibility of a fatal blow to the head.

It was revealed later that Dr Lanas had been monitored by a Home Office committee since 1996 and had been criticised by officials.

In June 1998 Brian Buchanan, 30, was cleared of murdering his 16-month-old son after an Old Bailey jury heard Dr Lanas could have caused bruises on the dead child's neck herself during a "cack-handed" examination of the body.

Senior Home Office pathologist Iain West said Dr Lanas was probably responsible for a bruise she claimed had been caused by strangulation.

Deported

Scots-born Mrs Kayretli has now been released from Holloway prison where she was serving a six year sentence for manslaughter.

Her former husband Veydat, who was serving eight years, was also released.

He had been given two more years than his wife for concealing Mr Demir's body and preventing a lawful burial.

He was also given 12 months concurrently for stealing Mr Demir's BMW car and selling it.

He was arrested as he left prison and deported back to his native Turkey.

Mrs Kayretli's solicitor Chrstine Plampin said her client had been completely exonerated and now wanted to get back to living a normal life.

She said she planned to be re-united with her two children, and would try to claim compensation from the Home Office.

"She has been through an awful trauma," she said.

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