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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 21:21 GMT
Conviction for murder of girl overturned
John Corcoran
John Corcoran was convicted of murder in 1999
A man who was jailed for life for murdering a 15-year-old girl from Hampshire has had his conviction overturned.

Helen Gorrie was killed after going missing from her home at Horndean in 1992.

John Corcoran, who was found guilty of murdering the schoolgirl in 1999, wept as the Court of Appeal announced it was overturning his conviction.

The three judges in London said the guilty verdict was "unsafe" and they allowed the 32-year-old to walk free from court.

Helen Gorrie
Helen's body was found dumped in undergrowth

Unemployed Mr Corcoran had denied murdering Helen, who disappeared from her home after telling her family she would be gone for just a few minutes.

Her semi-naked body was found in undergrowth outside Merchistoun Hall the next day.

During the trial in 1999, Winchester Crown Court heard that Mr Corcoran had been questioned by police a few days after the killing because his business card had been found in Helen's room.

Scratches had also been found on his arm but he said they had been inflicted by his girlfriend and he was released due to lack of evidence.

He was rearrested later when new evidence came to light.

Crucial witnesses

On Wednesday Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Davis, announced that the appeal was being allowed.

He said the basis of the decision concerned a "misdirection" by the trial judge on the evidence of three crucial witnesses.

After the ruling, solicitor Christopher Hayes said Mr Corcoran was "delighted".

No application was made for a retrial.


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