Robin Garbutt to Challenge Murder Conviction for Third Time

On the day of Robin Garbutt’s conviction, the first line of a BBC News article reported: ‘A shopkeeper who beat his postmistress wife to death at their North Yorkshire village store then claimed intruders had done it has been jailed for life.’ But was this all there was to it, or is the man who has been locked up ever since serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit? Will Bordell reports At the Melsonby post office in North Yorkshire, the till roll for the morning of 23 March 2010 shows an almost unbroken stream of transactions. Just a mile or so north of a major junction known as Scotch Corner, the post office was busy with customer after customer from around 5.00 a.m., an hour before sun-up. Robin Garbutt served all of them. Over three hours and at least 60 transactions later, Robin went back to the living quarters that were above and behind the shop. Not long after, he found his wife Diana lying dead on the bed in the spare room.
A guilty verdict was handed down by the jury at Teesside Crown Court in April 2011. The jury hadn’t been able to reach a unanimous decision, so the judge eventually agreed to accept a majority verdict. Nearly 13 hours into their deliberations, by a 10-2 majority, Garbutt was convicted of his wife’s murder. Now 55 years’ old, he is serving a minimum of 20 years behind bars at HMP Frankland. Since that morning in March 2010, Garbutt has maintained his innocence. He has brought an appeal and has twice placed fresh evidence before the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), in an effort to have his conviction recognised as a miscarriage of justice. All those attempts have failed. Earlier this year, Garbutt made a third submission to the CCRC, based largely on fresh evidence about the murder weapon and DNA found at the scene. The CCRC has power to refer cases back to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration where it believes there is a real possibility that a conviction is unsafe.
Read more: Will Bordell, Justice Gap,

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