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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Murder inquiry 'rotten to core'
Gary Mills and Anthony Poole
Gary Mills and Anthony Poole have always protested their innocence
Two men convicted of murder have told the Court of Appeal that police officers involved in the investigation were corrupt.

Gary Mills, now 43, and Anthony Poole, now 41, were jailed for life in 1990 for the fatal stabbing of Hensley Wiltshire during a fight at a flat in Conduit Street, Gloucester.

The pair have always maintained their innocence and say their convictions are "unsafe".

Edward Fitzgerald QC, opening the case for Poole, told the three judges in London: "There is evidence that there was something rotten at the core of this investigation."

Counsel said the trial jury convicted the pair on the evidence of a witness who was a drug addict and "someone eminently susceptible to pressure from the police".

Acted in self-defence

He told the judges: "There is every reason to suspect that improper pressure was put on her."

An initial challenge to their convictions was rejected by the Court of Appeal in 1996 and that was followed by a defeat in the House of Lords.

But in a High Court hearing in December 2001, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf and Mr Justice Ouseley, said they believed there were doubts about the safety of the convictions.

Their case was referred back to the Court of Appeal in May last year.

At their trial Mills maintained he acted in self-defence after being attacked by Mr Wiltshire. Poole said he took no part in the fight.

The appeal is expected to last three days.

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