Court refuses double shotgun murder appeal
A former drugs mule fighting to overturn his convictions for murdering two gangland enforcers has had his appeal thrown out of court by top judges.
Thomas Alexander Haigh, 27, was jailed for at least 35 years for blasting Wirral boxer Brett Flournoy, 31, and Bracknell father-of-three David Griffiths, 35, to death with a shotgun.
Their bodies were found crudely buried at Sunny Corner Farm, St Austell, in Cornwall, in the summer of 2011.
Haigh, formerly of Huddersfield, had been under pressure due to debts and was under threat of being sent to Brazil to smuggle a consignment of drugs, as he had done once before.
But following his convictions at Truro Crown Court last year, evidence emerged which he claimed implicated his acquitted co-accused, Ross Stone, in the murders.
In a hearing at the Court of Appeal in July, serving prison inmate, David Johnson, 34, told how Stone had confessed to the murders in his cell soon after he was himself found not guilty.
Johnson, who is now serving a 22-year stretch for attempted murder, said Stone, who was jailed for five years for concealing the bodies of Mr Griffiths and Mr Flournoy, laughed as he confessed to the killings.
After a three-month adjournment, Haigh's barrister, John Elridge QC, argued on Thursday that the evidence backed his defence that it was Stone who pulled the trigger.
He also pointed to evidence that important trial witnesses had visited Stone in prison before giving their evidence, bolstering the claim that accounts had been changed to improve Stone's chances of acquittal.
However, when giving judgment, Lord Justice Aikens, Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Cranston said Johnson's evidence was "not credible".
"He is a habitual and gratuitous fabricator of stories, he is a convicted liar," said Lord Justice Aikens.
"We have concluded that this evidence about the conversation with Ross Stone is not even arguably credible."
The judges said Haigh's appeals against conviction were "unarguable" and rejected them, but cut the minimum he must serve before he can be considered for parole from 35 to 32 years.