Double murder convict Thomas Haigh has appeal thrown out
A former drugs mule convicted of murdering two gangland enforcers and burying their bodies at a farm in St Austell had his appeal thrown out of court by top judges today.
Thomas Alexander Haigh, 27, was jailed for at least 35 years for blasting Wirral boxer Brett Flournoy, 31, and Bracknell dad-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 under threat of being sent to Brasil to smuggle a consignment of drugs, as he had done once before.
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But following his convictions at Truro Crown Court last year, evidence emerged which he claimed fingered 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 admitted and was jailed for five years for concealing the bodies of Mr Griffiths and Mr Flournoy, laughed as he confessed to the killings.
"He said it's not every day you get away with murder twice," Johnson told appeal judges. "He started playing with the cards and he said 'it was quite easy, I just had to shift the blame onto Tom'. He said 'it's easy: visitors and messages'."
Johnson said he had then met Haigh while at Long Lartin Prison, in Worcestershire, and made a statement about Stone's alleged "confession".
After a three-month adjournment, Haigh's barrister, John Elridge QC, today argued 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.
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.
"All three of us have very recently listened to the audio recording of the evidence of Mr Johnson.