Echoes from the past

On 9 February 2003 Lois Jenkins went into print in The Sunday Times to write about the murder and its aftermath, and to launch a savage attack on what she referred to as “the justice industry”. At that time the CCRC was considering an application by Siôn Jenkins for a further appeal, and she wrote critically of what she viewed as its ‘offender orientated’ approach.

She said in the article that she had written a book, but had decided not to publish because she and others affected by events were ‘trying to move on with their lives’. She went on “I have not changed my view on speaking publicly and do not intend to publish anything but this article. It is an attempt, in a small way, to put into perspective the important things about the experiences of my family and myself, to allow lessons to be learnt and to help those who are trying to cope with similar experiences.”

The Sunday Times itself explicitly linked her article to the CCRC’s review, and trailed it as an attack on those who questioned Siôn Jenkins’ guilt. Three months after her article appeared the CCRC referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.

Three years later,almost to the day, Lois Jenkins has once again gone into print in a national Sunday newspaper — this time the Mail on Sunday, where her recollections are appearing in serialised form.

So — what has happened in the past three years to make Lois Jenkins go back on her word?

  • In 2004 Siôn Jenkins’ conviction was quashed by the court of Appeal, making him, in the eyes of the law, an innocent man. A retrial was called, and the burden of proof was on the prosecution, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of murder.
  • In July 2005 the jury at his first retrial was unable to reach a majority verdict. They were not sufficiently convinced by the prosecution case to find him guilty. A third trial was called.
  • In February 2006 the jury at the third trial, again after long hours of deliberation, were also unable to reach a majority verdict. Siôn Jenkins was acquitted of all charges by the judge.

Lois Jenkins was a prosecution witness on each of those three occasions. She was notably absent from the original trial and the first appeal. She became involved in 2004, once there was a real possibility that Siôn Jenkins’ conviction might be overturned — as, indeed, it was.

His acquittal took place on 9 February 2006. Two days later Lois Jenkins’ first article appeared in the Mail on Sunday

Its publication prompts two questions: ‘Why?’ and ‘Why now?’