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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2008, 17:23 GMT
Wife killer 'innocent' - ex-chief
Eddie Gilfoyle
Eddie Gilfoyle is in his 15th year in prison
A former top police officer is campaigning to free a man her force helped jail for life for the murder of his pregnant wife.

Paula Gilfoyle, 32, was found hanging in the garage of her home in Upton, Wirral, in 1992.

Her husband Eddie was convicted of her murder the following year.

But Alison Halford, 67, who was assistant chief constable of Merseyside Police at the time, has now said there was a "huge miscarriage of justice".

Detectives believed Gilfoyle fooled Paula, 32 at the time and eight months pregnant, into writing the note and somehow persuaded her to climb a ladder in their garage with a noose around her neck.

The noose vanished, was never tested for DNA and Mrs Gilfoyle's body had no signs of force, while she had also left a suicide note.

The hospital porter was convicted in July 1993 and is now serving his 15th year in jail.

Paula Gilfoyle
Mrs Gilfoyle was eight months pregnant when she was found

Last week, prosecution witness Professor David Canter, the pioneer of criminal profiling in Britain, said he had changed sides and believed the conviction was unsafe.

The news was applauded by Gilfoyle's sister Susan Caddick, 49, and her husband Paul, who resigned from the police force in disgust at the treatment of his brother-in-law.

Now, Ms Halford has revealed she has visited Gilfoyle, of Wirral, Merseyside, in prison.

She said that in meeting Gilfoyle's family "I recognised a genuine belief that Gilfoyle was the victim of a huge miscarriage of justice".

In a letter to the Times, she added the family's complaints had led to an independent investigation which concluded the conviction was unsafe.

She wrote: "Even more worryingly was my exchange of e-mails with the superintendent of a neighbouring force, appointed to investigate the Caddicks' complaints.

'Stunning disclosure'

"Amazingly, he reported to the then Police Complaints Authority that the evidence against Gilfoyle and thus the conviction was unsafe.

"This stunning disclosure seemed to fizzle out and nothing seems to have been done."

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "The senior detective on the Wirral at the time was an experienced investigator with a proven record in major and serious crime inquiries.

"He oversaw the investigation, which was conducted by a detective chief inspector.

"Any chief constable will have an overview of all investigations carried out in his/her force.

"However, the progress of any investigation, all decisions made and liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service and barristers, towards advancement of the case through court is the responsibility of the SIO (senior investigating officer)."

Gilfoyle has lost two appeals so far but his family are working towards another.

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