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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 13:21 GMT
Jenkins didn't kill, says rector
Canon Stuart Bell

Although Sion Jenkins was not born in Aberystwyth, he forged strong links with the seaside town, home to generations of the Jenkins family.

It is where his parents live and where Mr Jenkins set up home when given bail while waiting retrial in July 2004.

During that time, he forged a close friendship with the Rector of Aberystwyth, Canon Stuart Bell.

Mr Bell said he was glad at Mr Jenkins' acquittal of Billie-Jo's murder and hoped the family could find "closure".

The last nine years, he said, had been "torture" for Mr Jenkins and the last months of the retrial "really dreadful".

"I came to know the man and was convinced in no way was he a murderer," he told the BBC.

But he said he followed Mr Jenkins' second retrial with "a very solid conviction that his innocence would be established".

Sion Jenkins outside court after the case
Sion Jenkins took Billie-Jo to Aberystwyth on family holidays

He added: "We need to bear in mind that the original conviction was completely overturned at appeal and in a sense it's a shame that he hasn't had a verdict from the jury, but this is the next best thing.

"He is a man of great personal faith and that has always been a help to him," he added.

"Everybody agrees he could only have had three minutes to lose his temper, commit a murder and to appear absolutely normal.

"It's been suggested Billie-Jo had splashed paint on the windows and that her music was too loud - that's completely unreasonable.

"I have been very concerned about the case from the outset and was extremely disappointed at the way the appeals were handled and the results of both appeals.

"I felt that after the last appeal he should have been declared innocent and allowed to go then, rather than go through this retrial. I don't think it added anything to this case."

Talking about the "immense" effect the case had had on Mr Jenkins and his family, Mr Bell added: "It will leave its mark on them permanently."

He later added: "He (Jenkins) has lost nine years."

Sion Jenkins spent several family holidays back in the Aberystwyth area before his parents retired to the town in later life.

He used to visit them with his ex-wife and children, including Billie-Jo. They had spent Christmas in Aberystwyth before Billie-Jo's murder in February 1997.


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