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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 07:58 GMT
New doubts raised on murder case
Arthur Eathorne
Arthur Eathorne: Battered in flat
One of Devon's most notorious murder cases could be referred to the Court of Appeal after a reinvestigation.

Robert Kennedy was sentenced to life in 1991 for battering Arthur Eathorne, 74, to death in his Plymouth Hoe flat.

Police have submitted a file to the Criminal Cases Review Commission after 18 months of work.

A BBC correspondent says legal experts believe there is sufficient doubt to see it referred to the Court of Appeal as a possible miscarriage of justice.

DNA advances

Kennedy, 41, who has been put on suicide watch, says he is innocent.

Advances in DNA technology have cast doubt on evidence linking cigarettes in Mr Eathorne's flat to Kennedy.

Robert Kennedy (1991)
Robert Kennedy: Suicide watch
At least two unidentified people were at the flat before Mr Eathorne was murdered.

He was homosexual and entertained a large number of men at the flat, one of whom was Robert Kennedy.

BBC South West Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Hall said the new evidence could lead to the safety of the conviction being reconsidered.

He said: "At the original trial there was other evidence against Robert Kennedy, including confessions to his friends and fellow prisoners.

"The judge also warned the jury to be cautious about the DNA evidence on the cigarettes. So it is a case which I think it's fair to say is in the balance."

The Criminal Cases Review Commission say they expect to make a decision on whether to send the case to appeal sometime next year.


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