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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 16:18 GMT
New DNA clues in wife murder case
Mary Bowman
Thomas Bowman denies strangling Mary at their home in 1978
New DNA evidence could lead to the quashing of the conviction of a man jailed for the 1978 murder of his wife.

Thomas Bowman, 62, of Prenton Village Road, Birkenhead, has always denied strangling Mary at their Wallasey home.

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

A five-day appeal was due to go ahead in London, but Court of Appeal judges adjourned the proceedings after being told of the fresh DNA evidence.

Bowman, a former welder and publican, argues that his conviction is "unsafe".

Tissue samples

The Court of Appeal heard that the evidence raised the question of whether or not throat tissue analysed by a pathologist before Bowman's trial came from his wife's body.

His barrister, David Martin-Sperry, told Lord Justice Gage, sitting with two other judges, that tissue samples had recently been re-analysed and the results had shown DNA material "inconsistent" with Mary Bowman.

Bowman was present in the dock to hear Mr Martin-Sperry submit that "if the throat is not Mary Bowman's" that was the "end of the Crown's case" and the conviction should be overturned.

Andrew Edis QC, for the Crown, told the judges: "The chance of some contamination by some other person resulting in a finding of their DNA...is quite high we would have thought".

'Flashback' evidence

Adjourning the appeal, Lord Justice Gage said: "We take the view that this issue, which has arisen at the very last moment - namely the question as to whether or not the DNA shows that the crucial neck structures are the deceased's, or may not be the deceased's - must be investigated."

When the full appeal is heard, probably early next year, Bowman's lawyers will challenge prosecution evidence given by a pathologist that two small bones in Mrs Bowman's neck were broken, suggesting strangulation.

They will also apply to challenge the "flashback" evidence given at the trial by the Bowman's 29-year-old daughter, Diane, who was then five.

The mother-of-two said she had suppressed the memories of what she had seen when her 44-year-old mother died at the hands of her father, but that she remembered the incident while receiving counselling more than 20 years later.

Man can appeal over wife's murder
10 Nov 04 |  Merseyside

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