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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 15:50 GMT
Mercury poisoner appeal rejected
A man who claimed he falsely confessed to attempting to murder a friend with mercury from a thermometer has had his conviction upheld.

Edward Latham, 28, originally from Nottingham, was jailed for life in 2001 after he admitted putting the mercury into a flatmate's drink.

His defence later said he made up the story to gain the "security" of a prison sentence.

But the Appeal Court judges said other evidence pointed to his guilt.

'Nothing new'

Latham stayed with Sarah Smith after they became friends when they were psychiatric patients at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The prosecution claimed Latham hoped he could obtain 750,000 from Mrs Smith's family by killing her.

The trial judge directed he must serve a minimum of five and a half years before he can apply for parole.

But within weeks of his sentence Latham was writing to his solicitors asserting he had been jailed for "a crime I didn't commit".

His case reached the Appeal Court as his lawyers argued the attempted murder conviction should be quashed as "unsafe" on grounds that Latham's guilty plea was unreliable.

But Lord Justice Moses - sitting with Mr Justice Gibbs and Mr Justice Treacy - said Latham's lawyers had presented "nothing new" beside his changed story to undermine the safety of his conviction.

Killing bid conviction 'unsafe'
14 Jul 05 |  Derbyshire

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