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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 23:19 GMT
'Killer' policeman breached bail
Gary Weddell
Gary Weddell's body was discovered in woodland
A suspected murderer who is thought to have killed again was allowed to remain on bail despite breaching a condition.

Ex-policeman Gary Weddell is thought to have killed his mother-in-law before shooting himself while on bail as he awaited trial for his wife's murder.

Bail hearing transcripts show a judge said it was a "borderline decision" to release the 47-year-old and he would be returned to custody for any breaches.

But he remained free despite breaking a condition by entering Bedfordshire.

'Technical breach'

The Judicial Communications Office published transcripts of five court hearings following an outcry over the fact that Mr Weddell was released while awaiting trial for such a serious offence.

Mr Weddell was warned he would go "straight back into custody" if he breached any of the eight bail conditions imposed.

The policeman breached his conditions by visiting his mother in a pub in Bedfordshire, despite being barred from entering the county.

However, Woking magistrates concluded it was only a "technical breach" and was not "deliberate" and allowed him to remain on bail.

Two months later, it is believed he murdered his mother-in-law, before taking his own life.

It is a very borderline decision that I have granted you bail at all, and you understand that if you breach any of these conditions, then you will be straight back into custody
Judge Bevan

Earlier Mr Weddell's wife, Sandra, 44, a London-born nurse, was found strangled at their family home in Lancot Avenue, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, on 31 January last year.

He was charged with her murder six months later and was due to stand trial at Luton Crown Court in May this year.

Judge Bevan twice refused Mr Weddell bail before releasing him on 27 July after the policeman's barrister brother put up a 200,000 surety.

The judge told him at the time: "It is a very borderline decision that I have granted you bail at all, and you understand that if you breach any of these conditions, then you will be straight back into custody."

The bodies of Mr Weddell and his mother-in-law, Traute Maxfield, 70, were found on 12 January.

Police believe Mr Weddell shot Mrs Maxfield, a retired carer and widow, at her home in Gustard Wood, Hertfordshire.

'Sadistic act'

He then appears to have shot himself with a gun at Broomhills shooting club, about 10 miles away in Markyate.

The policeman had earlier been found with an aerial cable hidden in his sock while he was being interviewed by police, a hearing was told.

When asked why he had it, he replied "I just wanted to go to sleep."

Mr Weddell was granted bail after psychiatrist Dr Tony Nayani, who interviewed Mr Weddell, had provided a report for the court.

Dr Nayani told Channel 4 News he did not believe that Mr Weddell's alleged murder of his mother-in-law was in any way related to the suicide risk he had been asked to investigate.

"What he went on to do six months later, when there had been absolutely no indication whatsoever that this man had displayed any sign of mental illness in that intervening period, was to commit a cold blooded assassination of his mother-in-law and then to take a gun to himself.

"This was a sadistic act of violence which was not, in my opinion, related to the impulse of suicide. It was much more ghastly and much more chilling than that."

The Conservative MP Mike Penning has called for an inquiry into the circumstances of the bail granted to Mr Weddell and a change in the law.

Background to the case

Bail case 'matter for judiciary'
15 Jan 08 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Family tribute to murder victims
15 Jan 08 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Police officer death inquiry call
14 Jan 08 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Officer bailed on murder charge
27 Sep 07 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Officer remanded on murder charge
13 Jul 07 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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