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Allan Chappelow murder: Pensioner killer’s final appeal is thrown out

New evidence would not have affected jury's verdict, judge rules

05 October, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Allan Chappelow was killed in 2006

THE man who killed a Hampstead pensioner more than 10 years ago and stole his identity before trying to empty his bank accounts has seen his final appeal against his conviction fail.

Wang Yam, 55, was told by the Court of Appeal that judges did not believe fresh evidence warranted a new trial. It means he must stay in prison for at least another nine years for the murder of reclusive Allan Chappelow, an 86-year-old writer who was found battered to death at his house in Downshire Hill in 2006.

Yam has spent a decade claiming he is innocent after being given a life sentence following a unique trial which was partly heard in secret on the request of then home secretary Jacqui Smith, who said the release of some of the details would be a threat to national security.

A former physics professor in Beijing, Yam fled to Britain after the Tiananmen Square massacre and claims to have later worked for the security services. No forensic evidence ever linked Yam to the home where Mr Chappelow’s decomposing body was found under mounds of rubbish, and mystery still surrounds nine cigarette stubs found by the body with an unknown man’s DNA on them.

After attempting to have his case reviewed at the European Court of Human Rights, and then considered by the Court of Appeal, the prosecution’s case was looked at by the Criminal Case Review Commission.

Last year they ordered the Court of Appeal to consider evidence given by a fresh witnesses who came forward after reading in the New Journal about Yam’s claims that he is innocent. The Lord Chief Justice, Mr Justice Sweeney, heard from a Downshire Hill neighbour, Jonathan Bean, who months after Mr Chappelow’s murder had caught an intruder armed with a knife rifling through his post.

Evidence was also offered by Peter Hall, who said he had met Mr Chappelow on Hampstead Heath at a place known as the “spanking bench”, where people who enjoy similar encounters would gather. He said he believed Mr Chappelow had sometimes taken men back to his home and the defence argued that this could have been a lead which the police failed to follow up.

Another neighbour, Michael Dunne, said he had seen a man acting suspiciously in Mr Chappelow’s overgrown front garden.

But Mr Justice Sweeney ruled that the evidence offered by new witnesses was not enough to overturn the conviction and Yam will now have to see out the rest of his sentence. In his ruling, he wrote: “We can see no basis for a conclusion that the new evidence would or might reasonably have affected the jury’s decision in this case. We are satisfied that the conviction is safe. Accordingly the appeal is dismissed.”


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