A claim that a murder victim was still alive more than three years after his supposed death has been challenged at the Court of Appeal.
Terry Pinfold, from Essex, and Harry Mackenney, were jailed for life in 1980 for the murder of Terence Eve.
On Wednesday, the Crown called evidence from former Detective Chief Inspector James Harrison Griffiths, who said he concluded Mr Eve was dead.
The day before, the court had heard the men's lawyers argue that evidence about the victim's whereabouts, collected during another police case, was never given to their defence team.
According to Metropolitan Police Commander Bert Wickstead, murder victim Mr Eve was reported as alive and living under an assumed name in west London.
However, Mr Harrison Griffiths told the court that, after secretly defying Mr Wickstead's instruction in 1976 to drop the police inquiry into Eve's disappearance, he concluded Mr Eve was dead.
Mr Harrison Griffiths, who left the Metropolitan Police in March this year, said the late Mr Wickstead gave the impression he did not believe that Mr Eve and three other missing men had been murdered.
'No evidence Eve alive'
"Mr Wickstead told me my future in CID would be short-lived if I did not stop the inquiry," he told Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Mr Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Davis.
"He would not tell me the basis on which he assumed Eve was living under an assumed name.
"He gave me no indication of why he wanted to stop the inquiry."
Mr Harrison Griffiths said he continued making inquiries in the hope of executing an outstanding arrest warrant under which Mr Eve was wanted for a lorry hijacking.
But he could find no evidence that Mr Eve was still alive.
In the end, he was convinced that Mr Eve was dead, as were the other men who, according to Mr Wickstead, had not been murdered.
Confessed to gruesome murders
Pinfold and Mackenney were jailed for life after being convicted by an Old Bailey jury in November 1980, Mackenney on four counts of murder and Pinfold on a charge of procuring Mackenney and Bruce Childs to murder Mr Eve.
Childs, who confessed to a series of gruesome murders, turned Queen's Evidence and was the chief prosecution witness against Pinfold and Mackenney.
One of the main grounds of their appeal is that Childs was a psychopathic liar whose evidence was unreliable.
In the 1970s, Pinfold and Mackenney, both ex-prisoners, were in business together making underwater diving equipment.
Mr Eve, another former inmate who shared their factory space in Dagenham, Essex,
disappeared in November 1974. No body was found.
Mackenney is still in jail serving a "whole life" tariff.
Pinfold was bailed, pending appeal, in September 2001 having served almost all of his recommended minimum sentence.