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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 18:55 GMT
Man can appeal over wife's murder
A man convicted of murdering his wife almost 25 years after she died has won permission to challenge his conviction.

Thomas Bowman, 60, of Prenton Village Road, Birkenhead, has always denied strangling his 44-year-old wife Mary at their home in Wallasey in 1978.

He was found guilty of murder at Preston Crown Court in July 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

London's Court of Appeal was told that medical evidence that helped convict him could now be undermined.

Taken valium

At the trial in 2002, it was alleged the former publican and welder attacked his wife when she threatened to leave him.

He said he awoke at 0300 to find her not breathing and claimed she had drunk beer and whisky and taken valium, and that was what had killed her.

Much of the case against him centred on the evidence of his daughter Diane, who was aged five at the time.

She claimed she had flashbacks of the incident when she underwent counselling many years later.

'Swayed the jury'

David Martin-Sperry, representing Bowman, told the court on Monday that the damage to Mrs Bowman's liver meant that she may not have been able to cope with the large doses of alcohol and valium which was found in her system in an original post-mortem examination.

He said that it is Bowman's case that it was that, and not strangulation, that killed his wife and there was a "serious and legitimate element of doubt" over his conviction.

He also stated that at the trial the Crown's pathologist said she was sure Mary Bowman was strangled.

Her certainty could have swayed the jury because the defence pathologist was unable to rule it out as the cause of death.

Fresh evidence

But now Mr Martin-Sperry said fresh evidence from a number of other experts meant that the Crown pathologist's confidence could not now be justified.

Lord Justice Rose said it was with a "degree of hesitation" the court granted permission to appeal.

"It should not be assumed by Bowman that, because leave has been granted, it will lead to his conviction being quashed," he said.

Earlier he had dismissed six other grounds of appeal as "unarguable".

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