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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Danielle murder leave to appeal
Stuart Campbell
Stuart Campbell has always denied killing his niece
The uncle of murdered schoolgirl Danielle Jones is to challenge his convictions for her kidnap and killing.

Stuart Campbell, 45, of Grays, Essex, was jailed for life in December 2002 for kidnapping and murdering his niece who disappeared in June 2001.

On Friday, three Appeal Court judges gave the builder leave to appeal.

They said it was arguable that evidence he was obsessed by Danielle and had a perverted interest in girls should have been excluded at his trial.

Mr Justice McKinnon had ruled at Chelmsford Crown Court at the start of Campbell's 11-week trial that the prejudicial nature of the material was outweighed by its value as evidence.

Danielle Jones
Danielle's body has never been found
The appeal judges - Lord Justice Latham, Mr Justice Goldring and Mr Justice Hughes - also gave the go-ahead for lawyers to argue that one of the jurors should have been discharged because he lived next door to one of the police officers involved in the case.

The court heard the juror's wife, a hairdresser, cut the hair of the officer and his wife, and was also hairdresser to a senior police officer in the same village.

Danielle vanished while walking to catch a school bus near her home in East Tilbury, Essex. Her body has never been found.

Father-of-two Campbell, who was married to Danielle's father's sister, denied any involvement in her disappearance.

Jurors heard that Campbell had developed an "irresistible sexual attraction" for his niece.

The prosecution produced evidence that Danielle, a pupil at St Clere's School, Stanford-le-Hope, was seen talking to a man in a blue Transit van shortly after leaving her house. Campbell owned an identical van.

Diary chronicling contact

He regularly picked her up from the school bus stop in his van, sent her "an inordinate amount of text messages" and kept a diary chronicling his contact with her.

Expert analysis of Campbell's mobile phones showed that his claim to have been in another part of Essex on the morning she disappeared could not be true.

Investigations also revealed that his and Danielle's phones were together near his home for around 30 hours after she vanished.

In a bag in Campbell's loft, police found female underwear including a pair of cling-top women's stockings stained with blood which contained a mixture of Campbell's and Danielle's DNA.

Killer's refusal to co-operate
19 Dec 02  |  UK News
Proving murder without a body
19 Dec 02  |  England

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