Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Lake murder conviction is quashed

Kamila Garsztka
Ms Garsztka's body was found six weeks after she vanished

A man found guilty of murdering his Polish girlfriend, whose body was found floating in a Bedford lake in 2006, has had his conviction overturned.

Amilton Bento, 29, of Rutland Road, Bedford, was jailed for life in 2007 for the murder of Kamila Garsztka, 26.

The Appeal Court's Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said new evidence cast such a doubt on the safety of Bento's conviction that it had to be quashed.

He then ordered a retrial at a date which has yet to be set.

Conviction unsafe

The case was heard at the Court of Appeal in central London last year when judges ordered investigations be conducted into the effect possible fresh evidence could have had on the trial.

After considering documents, Lord Judge, sitting at the appeal court with Mr Justice Christopher Clarke and Mr Justice Holroyde, said the new evidence, produced by four experts, was "potentially credible".

If it had been before the jury, it might have had a "significant impact" on the verdict which was delivered and, therefore, the conviction was "unsafe", he added.

Tests on Miss Garsztka's body, which was found by a party of canoeing schoolboys on 24 January, 2006, at Priory Marina, Bedford, proved inconclusive as to the cause of death.

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